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AMES — Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry is fighting for his political life in Iowa.

Four months ago, the Texas governor was seen as conservatives’ national savior. But with three weeks before Iowa’s leadoff caucuses, Mr. Perry is retooling his message from the strict jobs focus he started with in August to one promoting himself as a conservative outsider who will fight “special interests.”

He has also fallen back on his Christian faith, with two recent ads promoting Christian themes. The bulk of his recent Iowa campaigning has been at forums sponsored by conservative evangelical groups.

The strategy change is a sign of the pressure he faces to revive his faltering campaign.


Pipeline-safety bill passed by voice vote

The House passed a bill that doubles the maximum fine for pipeline-safety violations, but ignores several key recommendations arising from investigations of deadly natural-gas explosions and high-profile oil spills over the past two years.

The compromise bill was passed Monday by a voice vote. Senate action is expected this week, perhaps as early as Tuesday.

The bill extends federal safety oversight of 2.3 million miles of gas and oil pipelines through 2015. It also doubles the maximum fine for safety violations to $2 million and authorizes the hiring of 10 more federal safety inspectors. That’s far fewer new inspectors than most safety experts say are needed.

The bill also doesn’t include several safety recommendations made by investigators in response to a 2010 gas-pipeline explosion in California.


Romney dismisses $10,000 bet with Perry, criticizes Obama

Mitt Romney is dismissing his offer to make a $10,000 bet with Rick Perry as merely “an outrageous number to answer an outrageous charge” namely, Mr. Perry’s claim that Mr. Romney made changes to parts of his book.

Mr. Romney said Monday that he made the offer in the weekend GOP presidential debate because Mr. Perry erroneously claimed that he deleted parts of his book, “No Apology” that referred to Mr. Romney’s support for a health care mandate.

Mr. Romney told Fox News that his bet offer was meaningless hyperbole, akin to saying “I’ll bet you a million bucks.”

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