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A Thriller In Iowa: Mitt Romney Wins By 8 Votes

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(Credit: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

(Credit: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

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By Larry Kane

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – In a photo finish, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney won the Iowa caucuses by a margin of just eight votes more than second-place finisher, former Senator from Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum (see related story).

Both Romney and Santorum grabbed 25% of the vote. Ron Paul finished in a close third place with 21%. Newt Gingrich was fourth (13%); Rick Perry fifth (10%). Michele Bachman (5%) and Jon Huntsman (1%) held up the rear.

Now, it’s on to New Hampshire, but Iowa provided a thriller. Imagine, Pennsylvania’s Rick Santorum, with a small fraction of Mitt Romney’s war chest, finishing so well.

Imagine Ron Paul, the oldest of the candidates, getting the largest piece of the younger vote.

For Santorum, it is redemption after fighting for attention, and being treated as a non-factor. Now he is a factor.

New Hampshire is Romney Country. Now the question is: will Santorum get a bounce from Iowa and be able to compete in South Carolina?  Was this close contest for Romney a problem or just a bump in the road?

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