Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, has won the Iowa Republican presidential caucuses by a narrow margin of votes over former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum.He also won the endorsement of John McCain, the Arizona senator who lost the White House race to President Barack Obama in 2008."I'm really here for one reason and one reason only, and that is to make sure that we make Mitt Romney the next president of the United States of America," the Republican lawmaker told cheering supporters in a high school gymnasium in New Hampshire.Romney edged out Santorum by only eight votes, winning by 30,015 to 30,007, Republican Party officials in the midwestern state announced on Wednesday.Michele Bachmann ended her bid to win the Republican presidential nomination on Wednesday after coming in last.Even so, the Minnesota congresswoman said: "President Obama and his socialist policies must be stopped" and added that she was certain the country's founders were "watching" her.
The result will solidify Romney's front-runner status, as the Republicans head for their next contest in his stronghold of New Hampshire.Iowa caucuses were the first contest in the state-by-state battle for the Republican presidential nomination to face the sitting Democratic president, Barack Obama, on November 6.Both candidates were locked in a neck-and-neck fight till the end at 25 per cent votes. Ron Paul, a Texas congressman, claimed third place with 21 per cent of the vote.Sixty-four-year-old Romney is a former governor of Massachusetts. He is a strong supporter of the military and advocates boosting troop numbers.Romney said he and Santorum each had "a great victory" and congratulated Paul, then attacked Obama, saying: "This has been a failed presidency."Fifty three-year-old Santorum has gone from outsider to one of the leading candidates in Iowa.
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