Iowa Gov. Branstad: GOP Presidential Race Still 'Wide Open'

Sunday, 01 Jan 2012 10:49 AM

By Newsmax Wires

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With just two days left until the Iowa caucuses, Gov. Terry Branstad declares that the Republican presidential sweepstakes in his state remains “a wide-open race.”

The Hawkeye State’s Republican governor told Candy Crowley on CNN's "State of the Union” today that he had “predicted all along” that former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum would do well in Iowa.

Branstad’s observations came the day after the Des Moines Register released its final Iowa Poll before the caucuses, showing Mitt Romney and Ron Paul in a statistical tie for first, with Santorum making a strong showing in third. Political pundits are saying that Santorum’s recent surge indicate that he’s doing even better than the poll would indicate.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Romney, Texas Rep. Paul, and Santorum appear likely to be the top three, Branstad said, adding that Texas Gov. Rick Perry could be a factor as well.

Branstad scolded former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman for skipping the Iowa caucuses and focusing on New Hampshire instead.

President Barack Obama's former ambassador to China "messed up big time,” Branstad told Crowley. “He skipped Iowa and as a result he is an asterisk and he’s never going to get beyond that.”

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