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** FILE ** Sen. Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire Republican.

Sen. Ayotte: Obama doesn't want to face Romney

New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who has endorsed Mitt Romney's presidential bid, said Thursday the former Massachusetts governor's win in Iowa, no matter how slim the margin, has President Obama and his fellow Democrats worried.

Republican presidential candidate and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks Jan. 1, 2012, to local residents during a campaign stop at the Daily Grind coffee shop in Sioux City, Iowa. (Associated Press)

Ames straw poll makes for 'interesting' vacation

The Ames Iowa straw poll might not be the best barometer for picking the winner of the state's caucuses, but it sure makes for an "interesting vacation" — at least that's according to one of Rick Santorum's top surrogates here in New Hampshire.

Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks during a campaign appearance at the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011, in Knoxville, Iowa. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Watchdog renews complaints over Santorum's mortgage

Now that former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has proved he's a serious candidate for president with his near-tie for first in the Iowa caucus Tuesday night, ethics watchdogs are renewing their criticism of a mortgage he received from a bank run by campaign donors.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (Associated Press)

Sen. Hatch gets challenger

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican, has his first primary challenger, as former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist has decided to run against the sixth-term lawmaker.

**FILE** George Washington (Associated Press)

Gingrich: Founding Fathers weren't pot fans

Ever the historian, Newt Gingrich dropped a little marijuana wisdom in New Hampshire on Wednesday, telling an audience member that two of the Founding Fathers of the United States wouldn't like the idea of allowing New Hampshire residents to legally grow their own pot.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney holds an early morning rally at the Temple for Performing Arts on the day of the Iowa caucus, Des Moines, IA, Tuesday, January 3, 2012. (Andrew Harnik / The Washington Times)

Romney's, Santorum's odds improve after Iowa

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's narrow victory Tuesday in Iowa's caucuses and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum's stunning second-place showing have reset the bookmakers' views of the presidential election.

**FILE** Rep. Fred Upton, Michigan Republican (Associated Press)

Anti-tax group slams trio of GOP moderates

The Club for Growth's political arms on Tuesday launched a media attack against three moderate Republican congressional candidates in battleground states, accusing them of failing to live up to the influential group's conservative fiscal principles.

Republican presidential candidate and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks Dec. 30, 2011, during a campaign stop in Des Moines, Iowa. (Associated Press)

Gingrich chokes up at memory of his mother

Wiping back tears at the memories, Newt Gingrich said Friday his now-deceased mother's struggles with bipolar disorder and other ailments of aging helped form much of his public policy during his time in Congress.