2012 ELECTION

Iowa Caucus: GOP field still fluid

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It was a last ditch effort in Des Moines Tuesday: Grab onto that passion that can propel a candidate to victory.

Mitt Romney campaigning in Iowa Tuesday. (Photo: Scott Thuman)

For Mitt Romney, the tactic was simple. Go after Obama.

“I think the president would take us in a different direction,” Romney said. “I think he believes he America should become a European-style welfare.”

In an interesting twist, well out of Des Moines, Democrats are coming forward who are voting for Romney. Yes, Democrats.

“I'm gonna switch to the Republican party to vote for Romney,” says one voter. “Why? Because if Obama loses I want somebody who I think can do it.”

In a fluid race that has elevated and then discarded a dizzying assortment of front-runners, many of Iowa's GOP voters still hadn't settled on a favorite candidate just hours before they cast the first ballots of the 2012 presidential contest.

Just miles away, Ron Paul focused on his popularity with young voters, bragging of endorsements at a Rock The Vote event.

“Does anybody know the name Kelly Clarkson?” he asked.

Who will win the Iowa caucus? Vote in the WJLA poll here.

On Tuesday night, Republicans will gather in living rooms, high school gymnasiums and local libraries for caucuses that start the process of picking the 2012 GOP nominee. In each precinct caucus, voters will urge their friends and neighbors to support a preferred candidate.

For all of the attention paid to the caucuses, they are essentially a nonbinding straw poll that awards no delegates. Republicans do that at county and district conventions later in the year.

Twenty-five delegates are at stake in Iowa, out of 1,144 needed to win the Republican nomination

Rick Santorum, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann predicted upsets.

But outside of the city, in the more rural sections of the Hawkeye state, there's still indecision.

It's a wavering that Newt Gingrich believes he can capitalize on.

"We have precinct leaders all over the state who believe that the caucus-goers are going to walk in, have a discussion, and a substantial number are going to switch," he says.

While Gingrich has changed his tune one day after saying he wouldn't win Iowa, he's been unable to recapture the magic that made him Iowans first choice just a month ago - the same downfall Perry and Bachmann experienced.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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