News roundup: All eyes turn to Iowa to see if it's Romney, Paul or Santorum
Caucus day in Iowa. The intersection of Mormonism and politics. Predictions for the new year.
Happy Tuesday. Iowa Republicans will head to caucuses across the Hawkeye State today to pick their presidential candidate. The contest is a must-win for some White House hopefuls like Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum and could provide a big momentum boost for Mitt Romney. A new Des Moines Register poll shows Romney in the lead but with Ron Paul nipping at his tails though it also reveals a big surge for Santorum. [DMR]
-> AP's Kasie Hunt has a great read on how Romney is trying to gin up his chances by playing man of the people. [AP] And CNN explains why the evangelical vote is so key for winning Iowa. [CNN]
Topping the news: The Trib wraps up its three-day series on the intersection of Mormonism and politics with a piece looking at what Mitt Romney would and wouldn't do for the LDS Church if elected president. [Trib]
-> The other stories explored how Mormons perceive at government. [Trib] And how Mormons may be conservative politically, but the faith's economic positions are not so hard line. [Trib]
-> While his rivals are all over Iowa, Jon Huntsman keeps his focus on New Hampshire. [Trib]
Today's news: A proposed ballot measure in California is modeled after Utah's controversial guest worker law. [Trib]
-> Romney takes a 700 mile bus ride around Iowa as the official caucus approached. [DNews]
-> Josh Romney says he doesn't plan to follow his father's path into politics, at least any time soon. [DNews]
-> There may be some good economic indicators, but some out-of-work Utahns say they haven't experienced any recovery. [Trib] That said, many business execs and law firms say they plan to add staff in the next few months. [DNews]
-> Political insiders look into their crystal ball and make predictions for the new year. [UtahPolicy]
-> A state lawmaker is proposing legislation to limit class sizes for kindergarten through third grade. [Trib]
-> The president wants to give home health care workers at least minimum wage, a change in regulations that would impact Utah. [Trib]
-> Utah hails its environmental achievements in 2011. [Trib] [DNews]
Must see: The New York Times takes a look at the entourages that accompany presidential candidates. [NYTimes]
Spotted: Huntsman donning his Utah bomber-style jacket from when he was governor during a town hall in Dover, N.H., and his right-hand-man Neil Ashdown, sitting in the back of the audience.
Opinion section: Paul Rolly recalls a time when Democrats tried to recruit Huntsman to run for governor and says perhaps he should have taken them up on it. [Trib]
-> Utah Democratic Party Chairman Jim Dabakis takes Republicans to task over Utah's status as dead last in per pupil education spending. [Trib]
-> Conservative activist Connor Boyack says Americans need to read closer about the "reviews" of Congress and vote accordingly. [Trib]
-> Bagley offers his take on welcoming in the new year and also offers his predictions for 2012. [Trib]
-> A HEAL Utah board member slams the state's decision to allow blended radioactive waste. [Trib]
-> A Montgomery-based journalist writes that voters should judge Romney by his actions, not his religion. [Advertiser]
-> A columnist suggests that Americans should want a Mormon in the White House over the "Marxist" currently inhabiting it. [TownHall]
-> Pignanelli and Webb offer advice for candidates in the new year. [DNews]
-> Ex-Sen. Bob Bennett notes that the Iowa caucuses are not usually the tell-tale sign of who will win the nomination, but they're like the first game of the season. [DNews]
Tweet of the day: From @daveweigel: "Mitt introduces the family. Unsure why he keeps mentioning that Ann was 14 when they met." [Twitter]
2012 watch: A pro-Huntsman SuperPAC is spending big money on ads in New Hampshire, but is it too late to matter? [WaPost]
-> When the race shifts to New Hampshire later this week, the issues shift as well. [WaPost]
-> Newt Gingrich charges that Romney would just buy the presidency if he could. [AP]
-> Paul and Santorum argue that they're electable, making it a shot against Romney. [WaPost]
-> Romney says he would veto the DREAM Act if it was sent to him as president. [LATimes]
-> The Romney boys are more scarce on the trail this time around. [WaPost]
-> Looking beyond New Hampshire, Huntsman adviser calls for an aggressive South Carolina push. [CNN]
-> Huntsman goes after Ron Paul in a Twilight Zone-esque look at some of his more controversial remarks. [BuzzFeed]
-> The DNews' Lisa Riley Roche is in Iowa, reporting on Romney in the run up to today's caucuses. [DNews] And she notes that he doesn't bring up his race in LDS services on Sunday. [DNews]
-> Romney makes his first campaign stop of 2012 but some voters are more interested in the cheese balls. [WaPost]
-> Romney takes a swing at Santorum's record as the candidate threatens his Iowa chances. [Globe]
-> Huntsman offers a new fund-raising tactic: he'll match donations to his campaign from his own fortune. [SunTimes]
-> Ryan Lizza offers five things journalists want to happen with the GOP race, including that Paul wins Iowa and Huntsman wins New Hampshire. [NewYorker]
Where are they?
Rep. Jason Chaffetz is in Iowa to campaign for Romney.
SL Co. Mayor Peter Corroon and WVC Mayor Mike Winder attends SLC Mayor Ralph Becker's pre-inauguration brunch and then go to other swearing in ceremonies in the county.
President Barack Obama arrives back in Washington and then meets Vice President Joe Biden for lunch. Later, the president meets with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and participates in a video teleconference with Iowa Democratic caucus attendees.
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Thomas Burr Twitter.com/thomaswburr with Matt Canham