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On Eve Of Vote, Romney Returns To 2008 Strongholds

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney greets voters after speaking at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds on Wednesday in Davenport, Iowa.
Win McNamee
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Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney greets voters after speaking at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds on Wednesday in Davenport, Iowa.

Monday morning in Iowa, I caught up with Mitt Romney's strategist Eric Fehrnstrom after the campaign's first event of the day, a speech at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport.

In the last hours before Tuesday night's caucus, Fehrnstrom said, the former Massachusetts governor plans to consolidate his support by visiting areas in the eastern part of the state where he had a strong showing in 2008 — places like Dubuque and Cedar Rapids.

"I think we're surprised to find ourselves in the hunt here in Iowa. Based on what we've been seeing and hearing over the past several weeks," Fehrnstrom said, "we decided to invest more time by the candidate here." The latest polls do show Romney edging into the lead in Iowa.

Yet he was also quick to downplay Romney's hopes, just in case. "But I think whether we win or achieve something less in Iowa, we've built an organization that can go the long distance to Tampa," Fehrnstrom said.

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Ari Shapiro has been one of the hosts of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine, since 2015. During his first two years on the program, listenership to All Things Considered grew at an unprecedented rate, with more people tuning in during a typical quarter-hour than any other program on the radio.