- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 4, 2011

With less than a month to go before the crucial Iowa caucuses, Republican presidential hopefuls hope to bolster their chances by picking up former supporters of Herman Cain, the former GOP front-runner who suspended his campaign Saturday.

Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” Rep. Michele Bachmann, Minnesota Republican, said she’s already begun to draw former Cain backers into her camp.

“Our office had call after call after call from people who wanted to switch over and come and support me because people realize that I’m the true tea party candidate in the race,” she said. “I’m the real deal. I think we’re going to pick up a lot of support from across the country, people who formerly supported Herman Cain.”

Mrs. Bachmann is now polling in the single digits in Iowa, according to the latest Des Moines Register poll. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich leads the field at 25 percent, trailed by Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Republican, at 18 percent and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at 16 percent. Tapping into Mr. Cain’s base of support will be vital for any candidate who hopes to mount a late surge before the Jan. 3 caucuses.

Like Mr. Cain, Mrs. Bachmann was once atop the Republican field. The fluid primary race also has seen Texas Gov. Rick Perry briefly lead the pack before falling behind.

With Mr. Gingrich now in the lead in Iowa, Mrs. Bachmann and others are concentrating their attacks on the former speaker.

“He’s been part of Washington, D.C., for over 30 years. He’s as establishment as you get,” Mrs. Bachmann said of Mr. Gingrich.

A few days ago, Mr. Paul released a campaign ad calling Mr. Gingrich a “serial hypocrite” and a less-than-authentic conservative.

• Ben Wolfgang can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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