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GOP field keeps targeting Ron Paul

Jan. 1, 2012 at 2:09 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 1 (UPI) -- Republican presidential rivals Sunday kept casting doubt on Ron Paul, who went from dark horse to one of the favorites in this week's Iowa Caucuses.

Paul has pushed his way to the front of the pack in race for the GOP presidential nomination in the run-up to the Iowa vote despite continuing barbs from the other candidates that he would not be able to beat President Obama in the November election.

Michelle Bachmann told "Fox News Sunday" that the bloom was already fading from Paul's campaign because voters were paying closer attention to his platform, particularly on foreign policy and his hands-off views on Iran.

"We had tremendous momentum which continues to this day, because people saw how dangerous Ron Paul's policy is," Bachmann said. "If he would allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon, it would put the United States at risk. That's why we saw literally thousands of people jump ship and come aboard of my campaign and that's what we're going to see reflected on Tuesday night."

Paul Sunday dismissed the idea he would not be able to unseat Obama and pointed to his long career in Congress is proof that his message resonates with Americans. "I've been pretty electable," Paul told CNN's "State of the Union" just two days before the Iowa Caucuses. "I was elected 12 times once people got to know me in my own congressional district."

Paul said on ABC's "This Week" that his rise in the polls had a lot to do with his consistency, which was also appealing to voters beyond the conservative GOP base. "A lot of independents and a lot of Democrats coming to our rally, and that's what you need in order to win an election," he said.

Rick Perry said Paul's organizational strength was less of a factor in Iowa in the final days of the Caucuses push. "We are going to be able to go forward when some of these other candidates may do OK in Iowa, but when it comes to running a national campaign, they're going to falter," he told "Fox News Sunday."

Rick Santorum said he too was expecting a lift in Iowa that would provide momentum heading into the next phase of the primaries. "My surge is going to come on January 3rd and after the people of Iowa do what they do, which is actually analyze the candidates, figure out where their positions are, find out who's the right leader, who's got what it takes to defeat Barack Obama and lead this country," he said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

But Paul's son, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., argued, as did his dad, that the moderates in Iowa and other states were still lukewarm to the rest of the field in large part to their saber-rattling over Iran. "Ron Paul is the only one getting significant independent vote and Democrat vote and people say you need independent vote to win the election," the younger Paul told CBS' "Face the Nation. "You can't win with just Republicans."

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