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TPM’s Evan McMorris-Santoro tweets this photo from an Iowa caucus where people are actually casting their ballots.

As candidates make their final pitch to voters before the caucuses get underway, Rick Santorum visited four caucus sites in Johnston, Clive, and West Des Moines.

Today is the big day the GOP candidates have been waiting for. The nomination process to elect someone to challenge President Obama begins as caucus-goers turn out in huge numbers.... or simply turn out, in Iowa.

The candidates took their chance to put across final pitches, so check out who talked up their own plans, who attacked others and who compared caucusing to storming the beach at Normandy...

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Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) made a strong pitch on his promise to reengineer US foreign policy at the Ankerry, Iowa caucus, saying “If we care about our military, we would be much more cautious about going to war.” Paul has been criticized for his relatively isolationist worldview by his fellow candidates, who say pulling back from commitments overseas will harm American national security in the long-term. But Paul pushed back on that notion.

“I’ll tell you where I get my reassurance for my foreign policy…from the active military people,” said Paul.

Speaking via videoconference to Iowa Democratic caucus-goers, President Obama reaffirmed his commitment to a fight in his reelection campaign.

“It’s going to be a big battle,” Obama said of 2012. “I hope you’re geared up. I’m excited.”

The early entrance poll data, conducted by a media consortium, suggest that Ron Paul and Mitt Romney are roughly tied at 24%-24% in the Iowa caucuses, followed by Rick Santorum with 18 or 19 percent.

However, some caveats must be explained. Notably, early caucus entrance poll data — or primary and general election exit polls — have not yet gone through adjustments for geographic weighting and distribution, a process that is undertaken once actual results start coming in.

Furthermore, they are also dependent on the honesty of respondents, and their general willingness to speak to a pollster about their vote.

TPM’s Evan McMorris-Santoro tweets this photo from an Iowa caucus night event attended by Rick Perry’s wife, Anita Perry, telling people how her husband will ‘promote faith’ in the White House, “he wont be playing golf on Sunday mornings.”

On Fox News, analysts Karl Rove and his colleague are looking at Dubuque and Polk County, which includes Des Moines and it’s environs. In Dubuque, the population is heavily Catholic, so if Santorum stalls there he won’t make the top slot. In Polk County, Rove predicts, will be a bellwether for Romney; if he doesn’t get 25%-30% there, then he’ll be in trouble.

President Barack Obama is set to conduct a video teleconference with Democratic Iowa caucus-goers at 8:15 CT, per pool report:



Pool departed the White House and arrived at the Capitol Hilton at 7:59 p.m. The president will conduct a video teleconference with Democratic Iowa caucus-goers (yes, they do exist). Pool will view the event on a big screen in a separate room in the hotel. We’re holding now.

LiveWire