Romney Predicts Victory in Iowa 

Mitt Romney on Monday predicted victory in the Iowa caucuses on Tuesday, despite being locked in dead heat with Ron Paul and Rick Santorum of likely caucus-goers' votes.

Mitt Romney on Monday predicted victory in the Iowa caucuses on Tuesday, despite being locked in dead heat with Ron Paul and Rick Santorum of likely caucus-goers' votes.

The latest Public Policy Polling (PPP) puts Paul at 20 percent, Romney at 19 percent and Santorum at 18 percent of likely caucus-goers' votes.

The LA Times quoted Romney as telling his supporters at an asphalt plant in the Cedar Rapids community of Marion:

"I need you tomorrow night. I need every single vote in this room and I need you to get a couple other votes from your neighborhood and get to the caucus. I need a great showing here in Cedar Rapids. We're going to win this thing, with all of our passion and strength and do everything we can to get this campaign on the right track to go across the nation and to pick up other states and to get the ballots I need, the votes I need to become our nominee."

Until Monday, Romney had been trying to dampen expectations, according to the Times.

The candidate repeatedly said on Sunday that he didn't know who would win the caucuses, and his advisors on Monday said they were unfazed by the prospect of a second- or third-place finish because the nomination battle would be long.

Candidates have campaigned across Iowa in the final hours before Tuesday's contests, CNN reported, adding that the top three candidates traded barbs while former front-runner Newt Gingrich conceded he won't win Iowa, but suggesting that he will be "in good shape for the long run."

Santorum, a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, has emerged strongly, after picking up an endorsement from Christian leader Bob Vander Plaats, president of the socially conservative Iowa group The Family Leader and, according to Xinhua, "a guiding voice within the evangelical community."

Santorum's consistent message of family values has special appeal to republicans who place pro-life and anti-gay marriage issues at the top of their voting priorities, and with recent evangelical approval Santorum is now poised for a strong showing on Tuesday night.

At a campaign event Monday in Polk City, Santorum targeted Romney indirectly.

"I know one of my opponents who has now directed his attention to me, surprisingly, has said that he has executive experience," CNN quoted Santorum as saying of Romney. "We are not looking for a chief executive officer for this country. We are looking for a commander in chief."

Romney, however, rallied strong support in the area in his unsuccessful 2008 bid, according to the LA Times. He is evidently looking to replicate that effort by focusing on areas of the state he won in 2008 in four separate rallies Monday.

According to the Associated Press, Romney also chose to criticize Democrats rather than his GOP rivals, directly targeting President Barack Obama with the complaint that he would prefer to turn the US into a European-style welfare state — a "society based on entitlements where government redistributes wealth, rather than a meritocracy," as the Times put it.

"If they do that they'll substitute envy for ambition and they'll poison the very spirit of America, and keep us from being one nation under God. I want to see America united," Romney said, the AP reported. "I've watched a president whose become the great divider, the great complainer, the great excuse giver, the great blamer. I want to have an America that comes together. I'm an optimist. I believe in the future of America."

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