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Obama Wins Iowa's Democratic Caucuses

Jan 4, 2012

The Iowa caucuses — the first contest of the 2012 presidential nominating season — were held Tuesday night. President Obama was unopposed, but Democrats met in caucuses across the state for what was essentially a pep rally.

Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul were the big winners Tuesday night in the Iowa caucuses. They finished first, second and third respectively. Romney won by the narrowest of margins — eight votes.

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

About 200 miles from Des Moines, the Republican chair of Clinton County was fast asleep as state officials waited for the final votes in the caucuses. As it turns out, the final votes were needed from the second ward, second precinct, the 2-2 in Clinton County.

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The Iowa caucuses ended with Mitt Romney's extremely narrow victory over Rick Santorum. The first presidential nominating contest of 2012 played out at hundreds of sites across the state. NPR's Sonari Glinton spent the evening at the Van Meter Secondary School.

In recent weeks a lot of polls and pundits said the Iowa caucuses might be too close to call. But nobody imagined just how close things would turn out Tuesday night in the first voting of the 2012 presidential nominating season. Mitt Romney was declared the winner by just eight votes. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum came in second.

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Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has been considered a front-runner in this race since before the campaign began. Yet, at the end of voting yesterday, he did no better than he had four years earlier.

NPR's Ari Shapiro was at Romney campaign headquarters in Des Moines, and walks us through that tense and dramatic evening.

Business News

Jan 4, 2012

Steve Inskeep has business news.

The Last Word In Business

Jan 4, 2012

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Our last word in business today is yogurt. Actually, yogurt and beer. Maybe not a combination you want to consider first thing in the morning - or maybe ever - but those two products will be together in this year's Super Bowl.

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A Man. A Van. A Surprising Business Plan.

Jan 4, 2012

We've all been there. Trapped in line at the DMV. Or stuck on hold while trying to call a city agency. It's easy to complain about government bureaucracy. But it's the rare person who sees such inefficiency as a business opportunity.

Meet Adam Humphreys. He lives in New York City, and he wanted to travel to China for a vacation. His bureaucratic hassles with the Chinese consulate launched a whole new business.

At Ron Paul's caucus night event in Ankeny, Iowa, most of his supporters were celebrating. Paul finished a strong third in Tuesday night's caucuses.

But one man in the crowd — famed Republican strategist Frank Luntz — was much more concerned with what happens next.

"I think over the next 24 to 48 hours, the campaign's gonna get a little bit meaner, a little darker, and a little bit more personal, as the candidates now fight for their life," said Luntz, who spoke with NPR in between television appearances Tuesday night.

It's on to New Hampshire for at least some of the Republican presidential candidates, and The Associated Press reports that Newt Gingrich will take out a full-page ad in the New Hampshire Union Leader Wednesday contrasting himself as a "bold Reagan conservative" against Mitt Romney, who he labels a "timid Massachusetts moderate."

Rick Perry To Reassess Bid After Loss In Iowa

Jan 3, 2012

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he will return to his home state and "assess the results" of Tuesday's Iowa caucuses, after getting just 10 percent of the vote.

"With the voters' decision tonight in Iowa, I decided to return to Texas, assess the results of tonight's caucus, determine whether there is a path forward for myself in this race," Perry said.

He was originally scheduled to campaign in South Carolina on Wednesday, but those plans were put on hold after his distant fifth-place finish.

The Associated Press adds:

The Bowl Championship Series climaxes Monday, with a game in New Orleans between Louisiana State and Alabama for the national bragging rights to Dixie.

As there is a joke about the Holy Roman Empire — that it was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire — so can the same be said about the Bowl Championship Series.

It's not a bowl; it's a game played in the Superdome.

It's not a championship, just an exhibition, because the teams have been appointed to show up without earning the right to challenge for the title.

Hospitals stepped up their advertising in 2011, and some newcomers to the national marketing game are academic medical centers. While the coast-to-coast commercials help attract faculty and students, they're also aimed at getting more paying patients to travel for treatment.

For the past 10 months, Syrians have taken to the streets in large numbers to oppose a repressive regime that has not hesitated to use force. The United Nations estimates more than 5,000 Syrians have died, and it is far from clear how the uprising will play out. President Bashar Assad's regime blames the revolt on Islamist militants and casts the uprising as a threat to Syria's minorities, including Assad's fellow Alawites and the country's Christians.

Kohut, Continetti Discuss Iowa Caucuses

Jan 3, 2012

Robert Siegel talks about the Iowa caucuses with Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center; and Matt Continetti, a contributing editor at the Weekly Standard.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

The Iowa caucuses are under way. Republican voters are making their choices in the nation's first presidential contest of 2012. And according to early entrance poll results, it appears two of the candidates are running strong - Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Now, to the Democrats, who were also caucusing tonight in Iowa. There, of course, is no drama in those caucuses. President Obama is unopposed. But the president did address Democratic caucus-goers a few minutes ago. And Iowa Public Radio's Sarah McCammon is at a Democratic caucus in Des Moines. Sarah, what was the president's message tonight?

A Look At The Van Meter, Iowa, Caucus Site

Jan 3, 2012

Robert Siegel talks with NPR's Sonari Glinton, who reports from a Republican caucus site in Van Meter, Iowa.

A Look At The Ankeny, Iowa, Caucus Site

Jan 3, 2012

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

In about an hour, Iowans will begin caucusing in the nation's first presidential contest of 2012. Republicans are gathering at sites representing more than 1,700 precincts. While voters can write in any name they like, six candidates leave the field. The top vote-getters will head into next week's New Hampshire primary with fresh momentum and while those at the bottom could find their campaigns on life support.

The results from Iowa suggest what has been clear for months: Republicans remain divided about their presidential choices.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney eked out an eight-vote win after he and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum swapped the slimmest of leads back and forth in Tuesday's caucuses. With returns complete, each had won the support of roughly 25 percent of caucusgoers.

Despite the near-tie, Iowa caucus rules do not allow for a recount. Texas Rep. Ron Paul was third at 21.5 percent, according to The Associated Press.

As results come in from the Iowa Republican presidential caucuses, we'll be highlighting the latest news and developments in this "live-blog." You can follow our updates on the NPR.org homepage, where they'll flow in automatically, and in this post. Here, we'll collect all the updates so that you can see how the story developed as the night went on. Just click your "refresh" button occasionally to ensure you're seeing our latest additions.

The third stage in Egypt's parliamentary elections got underway Tuesday. In upper Egypt, tensions between Muslims and Christians have intensified in the aftermath of the ouster of Hosni Mubarak. Qena is a stronghold of the ultra-conservative Salafi movement, and its members have clashed repeatedly with local Coptic Christians over the past year.

New Rules Mean Full Disclosure For Airfares

Jan 3, 2012

New rules will soon compel airlines and travel sites to disclose the total price of an airline ticket up front. But some airlines say the rules aren't fair and they're going to court to try to stop them.

Right now, some airlines and travel sites lure in customers with very low fares — and a tiny asterisk. Government taxes and fees — and perhaps a fuel surcharge — can be found in the fine print or on another screen.

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