Politics: Des Moines Register poll: Romney, Paul tied

Des Moines, Iowa -- A new poll by The Des Moines Register, which has endorsed Romney, late Saturday showed Romney and Paul statistically even at the front of the pack. Romney had 24 percent while Paul had 22 percent. Santorum was third with 15 percent of likely voters backing him.

Gingrich had 12 percent support and Perry had 11 percent. Bachmann trailed with 7 percent.

But the poll showed Santorum ascendant and Paul falling. During the last two days of the poll, taken Dec. 27-30, Santorum drew 21 percent while Paul had fallen back to 18. The survey showed that 41 percent of likely caucusgoers say they still might change their minds.

Gingrich: Agency clears way to "steal elections"

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa -- Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich blasted the Justice Department for blocking a South Carolina voter identification law and suggested the Obama administration wants to "steal elections."

During a campaign stop in Council Bluffs, the former House speaker questioned why Attorney General Eric Holder is "so determined not to identify if people are not eligible to vote."

Gingrich went on to say that, "you have to ask, why is it that they are desperate to retain the ability to steal elections and I think that's what it comes down to."

The Justice Department recently rejected South Carolina's law requiring voters to show photo ID at polling places as discriminatory against minorities. Republicans argue stricter voter ID laws are needed to avert voter fraud.

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Candidates struggle to get names on Va. ballot

WASHINGTON -- Several Republican presidential hopefuls are saying the state of Virginia should put their names on its March 6 ballot for the GOP primary despite their failure to meet state requirements.

Last week, Texas Gov. Rick Perry claimed in a lawsuit that Virginia's requirement of 10,000 signatures by registered voters, with 400 from each of its 11 congressional districts, violates his freedom of speech.

On Saturday, lawyers for Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum joined Perry in asking the Virginia State Board of Elections and the Republican Party of Virginia to be added to the ballot. Gingrich told reporters at a campaign stop in Iowa: "This should not be a gantlet to figure out how you can make it virtually impossible to run for president."

18 protesters arrested at campaign HQs

URBANDALE, Iowa -- Eighteen protesters connected to the nationwide Occupy movement were arrested Saturday outside the presidential campaign headquarters of Republicans Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.

Local police in suburban Des Moines, Iowa, said the 16 adults and two juveniles were arrested for trespass, a simple misdemeanor. Most were released later Saturday.

Dozens of demonstrators massed outside the office where Bachmann had come to rally staff and make calls to potential caucus-goers. Campaign security told the protesters not to approach the office.

Urbandale police Lt. Kent Knopf said the 10 Occupy demonstrators were arrested, handcuffed and taken away.

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