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GOP candidates make final push as Iowa caucuses near

January 1, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Republicans will cast the first votes of this presidential election year in Tuesday's Iowa caucuses.

The latest Des Moines Register poll show the race is tightening between GOP candidates, with former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney clinging to a slight lead.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul is right on his heels and a recently soaring Rick Santorum is in third place.

In Iowa City, former senator Santorum suddenly found himself a threat to the frontrunners.

"We still have a ways to go, but we are on the move, nobody else is, and that's pretty exciting," Santorum said.

Santorum has traveled to all 99 Iowa counties and campaigned the old fashioned way: meeting people.

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich has been in free fall, hurt by his opponents' constant attack ads.

On Sunday, Gingrich all but accused Romney of trying to buy the election.

"He would buy an election if he could," Gingrich said.

Asked if he believed if Romney was trying to buy this election, Gingrich said, "$3 1/2 million dollars in negative ads. You tell me."

With a thin lead, Romney has tried to stay out of the mud as much as possible. He doesn't want to do anything to sink his second try at Iowa.

Michelle Bachman was born in Iowa and won the straw poll for the state. She isn't quitting despite her poor stand in recent polls.

Iowa has fought hard to keep its first in the nation status. In this volatile caucus, the vote Tuesday could well be a major factor in who the next Republican presidential candidate will be.

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