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Romney, sensing opening, makes big push in Iowa

 Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney greets supporters after a campaign stop at Homer's Deli and Bakery in Clinto...

Romney 2012

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney greets supporters after a campaign stop at Homer's Deli and Bakery in Clinto...

Republican Mitt Romney is sensing an opening to win next Tuesday's Iowa caucuses, and he's campaigning with increasing confidence _ and a new crush of advertising _ to bolster his closing argument: that he's the most electable candidate to challenge President Barack Obama in November.
A win in the first voting on the national road to the Republican nomination would help him in the next contest on Jan. 10, in New Hampshire, where the former Massachusetts governor's standing is strong.
"I just have to put my head down and battle as best I can," Romney said Wednesday.
Romney hasn't announced where he'll be on caucus night, leaving open the possibility that he may stay in Iowa if victory is at hand.
Support for former House of Representatives speaker _ and former leader in the polls _ Newt Gingrich is sliding after an onslaught of advertisements by a political action committee run by Romney's allies.
And while Romney is largely shying away from criticizing his rivals, he jabbed at Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who has emerged as Romney's chief rival in Iowa despite some concerns over his isolationist views on foreign policy.
"One of the people running for president thinks it's OK for Iran to have a nuclear weapon," Romney said Wednesday. "I don't."
It is a far more aggressive strategy than the one Romney has employed all year. He poured $10 million into the state in 2008, only to lose it in a defeat that crippled his campaign. He couldn't allay concerns about his Mormon faith or his reversals on some social issues in a state where evangelical Republicans and other social conservatives dominate.
Romney approached Iowa more cautiously this time. Until recently, his Iowa aides worked out of an attic on a slim budget. He spent less than $200,000 on the state before the campaign started buying TV ads in December.
Paul's surge represents the latest threat, and in some respects, the unlikeliest, coming from a man whose views on abortion, the war in Iraq, Iran and other issues are at odds with those of most Republicans.
At the same time, Paul's anti-government appeal appears to tap into the desire of a frustrated electorate for profound change in an era of high unemployment and an economy that has only slowly recovered from the recession.
Social conservatives remain splintered among a handful of candidates that include Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
On Wednesday, a new CNN/TIME poll in Iowa showed Romney leading with 25 percent support. Paul had 22 percent and Santorum drew 16 percent, while Gingrich had fallen to 14 percent.
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Associated Press writers Davis Espo in Newton, Iowa, and Kasie Hunt and Thomas Beaumont in Clinton, Iowa, contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-04-20 17:36 GMT+08:00