Odd notes, mad-dash trips mark Iowa closing sprint

December 29, 2011 - 4:02 AM
Paul 2012

Republican presidential candidate, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, speaks during a campaign stop at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2011. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa's GOP presidential contest remains deeply unsettled, if not downright strange, five days before the Jan. 3 caucus.

Congressman Ron Paul is drawing big crowds and a surprise endorsement — from rival Michele Bachmann's now-former Iowa chairman.

Rick Santorum has been languishing for months, but the former senator suddenly seems to have momentum, just as one-time House Speaker Newt Gingrich may be losing his.

Meanwhile, some new polls show that Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who began the campaign by de-emphasizing Iowa, might be poised to finish on top.

Romney is making an unabashed push in Iowa. His rivals are scrambling to deny him huge momentum heading into the Jan. 10 primary in New Hampshire, Romney's second home.