Polar Opposites: Cain and Santorum visits to Eastern Iowa - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Polar Opposites: Cain and Santorum visits to Eastern Iowa

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

A Bloomberg news poll out this week shows a near tie between four Republican presidential candidate hopefuls among likely Iowa caucus-goers.

Herman Cain garnered 20 percent of likely caucus-goers' support. Ron Paul gathered 19 percent; Mitt Romney, 18 percent and Newt Gingrich, 17 percent.

Tuesday morning, Herman Cain made a stop in Dubuque.

"How are you? Nice to meet you. How are you?" Cain said, as he greeted the crowd of about 200 people that had turned out to see him.

He addressed the group outside Cafe Manna Java in the Roshek Building.

"I have been in leadership positions of all types, which means that the leadership approach that I have used, just like business people use, is the approach that gets things done," he told the crowd.

Cain emphasized the importance of national security and highlighted his business background.

"Politicians will propose things that they believe they can pass. Businessmen propose ideas to fix the problem," Cain said, to light applause.

Some people, such as Dubuque voter Karen Potts, said they're decidedly backing Cain.

"I really appreciate the man's firm foundation, his faith, his background, his character," Potts said.

Despite recent allegations against Cain of sexual harassment, more than two-thirds of respondents to the Bloomberg news poll said they wouldn't rule out a candidate based on sexual harassment accusations.

"Now he's getting all kinds of free press, so I think it's drawing more attention to him, and I think he's handling himself well under that fire," Potts said.

60 percent of the poll's respondents said they could still be persuaded to back a candidate different from their current top choice.

Jackson County man Jim Budde falls into that category.

"I'm pretty much sure I'm going to go with Herman Cain. I've been debating about that," Budde said. "Both of them, Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann, pretty much hold my principles and values."

Cain avoided a pre-planned media opportunity and fielded only a handful of questions from journalists after his speech, while walking to his vehicle.

He clarified his position on collective bargaining, saying his believes it shouldn't be mandatory but supports it, when done right.

Later in the afternoon, former US Senator from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum made a stop in Dyersville, at the James Kennedy Public Library.

Unlike Cain's crowd, Santorum's was a group of fewer than 10 people. Also unlike Cain, community members and journalists got his undivided attention and thorough answers to questions.

"My feeling is, my time will come," Santorum said, of his lagging in the polls. "There's six weeks until the Iowa caucuses."

Santorum has made campaign stops in all of Iowa's 99 counties, but the Bloomberg poll reveals only three percent of likely Iowa caucus-goers are currently backing him.

"If you're for me, you're for me, because you've met me, you've seen me, you like me, you know me," he said. "It's not that, you know, some image you get on television or some rally you go to and you get, you know, 300, 200 yards away from the person, they don't take any questions."

Santorum said all the other GOP candidates in Iowa have seen bumps in popularity. He said he's been patiently waiting for his spike in the polls and wouldn't mind if it came right before the caucus.

"If I was going to pick my timing, I would say the last is the best," he said.

The group asked him about his thoughts on the country's education system and relationship with Pakistan.

Santorum said his consistent stances on issues and history with foreign relations make him a viable candidate.

"One of the reasons I'm running is having someone with experience in this area, someone who has dealt with the Middle East in the past as I have," Santorum said. "Someone who's studied these issues, looked at these issues, worked with previous leaders of Pakistan when I was in the Congress. Those are all good things. Experience is a good thing."

Santorum stopped Tuesday evening for a "Faith, Family and Freedom" town hall meeting at Star Restaurant in Dubuque.

With 10 percent of poll respondents undecided and the caucus still one and a half months away, GOP contenders still have room to woo Iowans.

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