Rick Santorum is enjoying a last-minute surge in Iowa. Anderson Cooper talks about that and more with the political panel.
A volatile race for Iowa will go down to the wire with Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and a surging Rick Santorum leading the way.
CNN's Tom Foreman explains how the Iowa GOP caucus works and how it differs from the Democrats' process.
Los Angeles authorities are questioning a man about a string of at least 50 fires in the area. CNN's Casey Wian reports.
Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is confident despite a recent drop in the Iowa polls. CNN's Gary Tuchman reports.
Anderson is live from Des Moines, Iowa tonight with predictions and analysis from the stellar political team. The the first-in-the-nation caucuses tomorrow could change the future of the Republican presidential field. Tune in to AC360° at 8 and 10 p.m. ET.
Iowa has been nearing record-high temperatures recently, but not today. It’s very cold and windy. Gary Tuchman and I felt it most while waiting for Newt Gingrich to get off his bus. We were shooting footage for tonight's behind-the-scenes look at his campaign in Iowa. Today's first stop is Independence, Iowa to talk to supporters and the press.
The mood inside was warm and cordial. Gingrich mentioned several times how he won't go negative against his opponents. In fact, his biggest applause at this event came regarding negative ads: "People running negative ads should try to adopt a very simple rule," he said. "If you won't show your ad to your grandchildren, don't run it. If you are not proud of it, don't run it. And I think you would see about 80 percent of the negativity come off of TV." Gingrich noted his young grandson and his buddy were in attendance.
The unique story we’re preparing for AC360 includes moments you don't always see on TV: Gingrich with his wife and family, conversations with potential supporters, what Iowans are asking him and what they are applauding. "Rebuilding the America We Love" is the slogan on the side of his campaign bus and one of the points that has been getting most support from crowds is about America's place in the world. "I think it should be our policy to become so energy independent that no American president ever again bows to or walks arm-in-arm with a Saudi king."
Reporter's Note: The Iowa caucuses are heading our way. Just as my latest letter to the White House is no doubt headed for the president’s desk.
Dear Mr. President,
With the Iowa caucuses upon us, I’ve noticed a few of those traditional articles about how this part of the political process really doesn’t represent the nation. You know the drill: Iowa does not have enough minorities, it has too many party fanatics, too old, too rural, too, too, too….
As much as I am fascinated by demographics and numbers, I’m not sure I can find a reason to be worried about this. After all, unless we adopt a single, nationwide primary date for both parties, someone has to go first. And no matter which state we choose for that dubious honor, it can only be a little bit representative of the bigger “we.”
Think about it. California is the most populous state with Texas running second. Both are fine places with lots of nice people living in them. But as the first places to place a bet on the next president? I don’t think so. Not only are they decidedly different from any other states you can name, but they are also wildly different from each other in overall personality and political outlook.
The east coast? Come on. I know you’d love that region to kick off the process, because with all of its big urban centers that part of the country tilts Democratic, which is precisely why it is not fairly representative of the whole country. Starting the caucuses there would likely make the GOP look unnecessarily weak and the Dems strong.
A few years back, Illinois was judged by the Associated Press to be the most average state based on census data. But I lived in Illinois. I know that you can go across the border to Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, Kentucky, or Iowa, and get a substantially different mix of voters for any given election.
So like I said, I can’t get too worked up over the whole “Iowa is not like us!” argument. Only “all of us” are like us, and until we start running our primaries that way, we may as well let the Hawkeyes get the ball rolling.
Hope all is well for you as we tumble into the New Year. Call if you can.
Editor's note: Anderson reports live from Iowa tonight with the latest polling and most critical issues ahead of tomorrow's Republican caucus. Tune in to AC360 at 8 and 10 p.m. ET.
Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) - After a year when the Republican presidential race became defined by debates and cable news chatter instead of retail politics and town hall meetings, Iowa seems primed, in the end, to reward the candidates who did things the old-fashioned way.
Three Republican candidates - Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum - are on the cusp of grabbing a coveted top-three finish in Iowa, the leadoff caucus state, which rarely picks presidents but usually find a way to whittle down the field of candidates.
A Des Moines Register poll of likely caucus-goers released late Saturday found Romney clinging to a narrow lead with 24%, followed by Paul at 22% and Santorum gaining steam at 15%.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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