• KYW News 4:30-7am
    04:00 AM - 07:00 AM

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A group of Republican candidates to challenge President Obama in next year’s election squared off in Iowa last night and the timing was perfect.

The debate was a prelude to the big show at Iowa State University, the Ames straw poll, which is so important to Republicans hopes that frontrunner Mitt Romney stayed out of active campaigning for fear that it could stop his progress.

Romney and all announced candidates are on the ballott. For Michelle Bachmann, who has practically moved to Iowa for the event, a good showing in the poll is critical. For Tim Pawlenty, it’s all about survival in the race. Same for Rich Santorum who hired two bands and a lot of catering to gratify the voters.

Who can vote: anyone in Iowa over 18 who pays the admission. Is it scientific? No way. But the Ames Iowa poll is very important.

Texas governor Rich Perry and New York’s Rudy Guliani are not on the ballot. Perry will announce for his bid for president this weekend. Some polls are showing he’s already tied with Romney.

Reported by Larry Kane, KYW Newsradio 1060

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