Romney takes aim at 2012 Iowa caucuses

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) suggested Wednesday that he'll be spending more time in Iowa this fall, and that he's gunning for a good finish in the state's caucuses next year.

Romney, speaking at an economic roundtable in Pella, Iowa, said that Iowa voters could expect to see "more of me" in the months to come.

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"I'd like to do darn well in those caucuses," he said.

It's a suggestion that the putative front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination might make more of a run for victory in the state's caucuses, which are slated for February, than had previously been assumed.

Romney's carefully managed his political strategy in Iowa compared to his 2008 presidential campaign, when he competed strongly in the Ames straw poll and in subsequent caucuses. Romney won the 2007 straw poll but placed second in the caucuses.

This time around, Romney's spent more of his time campaigning in New Hampshire, where he enjoys an early, strong advantage in the polls, and other pivotal general-election states.

Driving speculation that he wouldn't choose to compete in Iowa was the Romney campaign's decision not to enter this year's straw poll, slated to be held this weekend on the campus of the Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. The straw poll is an early indicator of voters' preference in caucus candidates. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) are all gunning for strong finishes in the event.

But Romney will compete in a debate held Thursday in Ames, underscoring the kind of cost-benefit campaign he's said to be waging in the Hawkeye State.

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