New Hampshire's economy looks pretty good compared with much of the nation. But even there, confidence has been shaken, and many families' economic outlook has declined. Republican voters are trying to figure out which presidential candidate offers the best plan to soothe economic anxiety.
It's increasingly clear who among the six GOP candidates competing in Iowa will likely leave without a coveted win, place or show "ticket" out on Jan. 3. NPR traveled to Indianola, Iowa, to check out events for two once high-flying candidates: Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann.
The former Massachusetts governor took a swipe at GOP rival Ron Paul and his isolationist foreign policy positions while campaigning in Iowa Wednesday, but he later told reporters he would support the outspoken Texas congressman if he were the Republican Party nominee for president.
They spent weeks vowing to oppose a short-term compromise bill extending payroll tax cuts and unemployment insurance. But in the end, not one of them showed up to oppose Speaker Boehner's plan. NPR has new details about the Tea Party's private deliberations.
The rumor has been out there for weeks, and the state's voting laws suggest it could be possible: though only registered Republicans may participate, anyone can register for the party on caucus night and vote.
The economy is expected to be the No. 1 issue in next year's presidential race. But the states holding the first primary contests are not exactly typical. In Iowa, the unemployment rate is far below the national average. Jobs in small towns, however, remain scarce.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich renewed his pledge not to run any negative ads. But campaigning in Mason City, Gingrich said that won't stop him from personally attacking the record of his opponents.
The Iowa caucuses will be critical for Rep. Michelle Bachmann and former Sen. Rick Santorum, or a chance for Rep. Ron Paul to steal the national spotlight from Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
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