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January 3, 2012
GOP candidates vie for voters' trust in fluid Iowa
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Throwing elbows to the end, Republican candidates jostled over their conservative credentials and appealed to Iowa residents who were casting the first votes of the 2012 presidential race on Tuesday for a strong send-off into the long campaign season ahead.
Mitt Romney, a confident-but-cautious front-runner for the GOP nomination, looked past his Republican rivals to President Barack Obama in his final pitch to Iowa voters.
"This has been a failed presidency," he told voters in a Des Moines ballroom. "I will go to work to get Americans back to work."
With large numbers of likely caucus-goers still undecided or willing to change their minds, the outcome in Iowa was uncertain to the finish in a race that has elevated and then discarded a head-snapping assortment of front-runners. (27 images)



Supporters of Republican presidential, candidate Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, carry signs and flags near the campaign bus for fellow Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn, during a campaign stop at Valley High School, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012, in West Des Moines, Iowa. AP / Eric Gay


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Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, stands with his wife Callista as he buys two scoops of "Moose Tracks" ice cream, which is vanilla ice cream with chocolate peanut butter cups swirled with thick chocolate fudge, as he campaigns at Elly's Tea and Coffee House in Muscatine, Iowa, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012. AP / Charles Dharapak



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William Temple shows his support for Republican presidential candidate, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., as her bus departs following a campaign stop at Valley High School, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012, in West Des Moines, Iowa. AP / Eric Gay



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Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, campaigns at Elly's Coffee Tea and Coffee House in Muscatine, Iowa, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012. AP / Charles Dharapak



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Republican presidential candidate, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas speaks during a campaign stop at Valley High School, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012, in West Des Moines, Iowa. AP / Charlie Riedel



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Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, accompanied by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., left, greets residents during a caucus day rally at the Temple for Performing Arts, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012, in Des Moines, Iowa. AP / Charlie Neibergall



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Republican presidential candidate, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, speaks during a campaign stop at Valley High School, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012, in West Des Moines, Iowa. AP / Charlie Riedel



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Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, accompanied by his wife Callista, makes remarks during a campaign stop in Independence, Iowa, Monday, Jan. 2, 2012. AP / Evan Vucci



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Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, jokes with a father and son during a campaign stop on Monday, Jan. 2, 2012, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. AP / Evan Vucci



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Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is interviewed as he campaigns at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport, Iowa, Monday, Jan. 2, 2012. AP / Charles Dharapak



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Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gets a hug as he campaigns at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport, Iowa, Monday, Jan. 2, 2012. AP / Charles Dharapak



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Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum gives a thumbs up sign after a campaign stop at the Rising Sun Cafe, Monday, Jan. 2, 2012, in Polk City, Iowa. AP / Eric Gay



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Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks to local residents during a campaign stop at the Hotel Pattee, Monday, Jan. 2, 2012, in Perry, Iowa. AP / Charlie Neibergall



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Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign stop on Monday, Jan. 2, 2012, in Clive, Iowa. AP / Charlie Riedel



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Republican presidential candidate former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum mingles with supporters at a campaign stop at Pizza Ranch in Boone, Iowa, Monday, Jan. 2, 2012. AP / Charlie Riedel



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Texas Gov. Rick Perry embraces Elsie Schoop of Rockwell City, Iowa, while campaigning in Carroll, Iowa, Monday, January 2, 2012. MCT / Christopher Gannon



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Gov. Rick Perry pauses in thought while campaigning in Carroll, Iowa, Monday, January 2, 2012. MCT / Christopher Gannon



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Jan. 2, 2012 - West Des Moines, Iowa, U.S. - Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann tours businesses in West Des Moines on Monday Jan. 2, 2012 in West Des Moines, Iowa. ZUMA24.com / Andrew A. Nelles



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Republican presidential candidate, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and her husband Marcus attend services at Jubilee Family Church in Oskaloosa, Iowa, Sunday, Jan, 1, 2012. AP / Charlie Riedel



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Republican presidential candidate, former House speaker Newt Gingrich moves through a crowded pub during a campaign stop, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012, in Ames, Iowa. AP / Eric Gay



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Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign appearance at the Bayliss Park Hall, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012, in Council Bluffs, Iowa. AP / Chris Carlson



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Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, and wife Ann wave during a campaign appearance at the Family Table restaurant Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012, in Atlantic, Iowa. AP / Chris Carlson



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Republican presidential candidate former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum speaks to local residents during a campaign stop at the Daily Grind coffee shop, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012, in Sioux City, Iowa. Republican presidential candidates are largely shifting from persuading voters to mobilizing them for Tuesday's caucuses. AP / Charlie Neibergall



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Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum reacts to a question from the media at a campaign stop at Valley High School, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012, in West Des Moines, Iowa. AP / Charlie Riedel



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Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann, of Minn., meets with volunteers during a stop at her campaign headquarters on Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011 in Urbandale, Iowa. Republican presidential candidates are largely shifting from persuading voters to mobilizing them for Tuesday's caucuses. AP / Evan Vucci



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Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, greets patrons as he stops for lunch at The Farmer's Kitchen restaurant in Atlantic, Iowa, Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011. AP / Charles Dharapak



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Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks during a campaign stop in Fort Dodge, Iowa, Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011. AP / Charlie Riedel



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