Video: Candidates make final Iowa push

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    >> day of the 2012 election year, we're 48 hours away from the first contest to see who will face off against barack obama in november. the iowa caucuses are on tuesday and tonight the final polls from the des moines register shows mitt romney in the lead with ron paul close behind and rick santorum surging into third place ahead of newt gingrich . our political team is in place in iowa . and we begin tonight with nbc's ron mott. ron , good evening.

    >> reporter: kate, good evening to you from a frigid des moines . the long hot quest for voter support here in iowa is about to end. most voters have already lined up behind their candidates, but a good number of them are still uncertain and they could be a real wild card come tuesday. at church this morning, michelle bachmann needed a little intervention to be heard.

    >> turning on the power. that's what we're going to do this morning. we're going to turn on the power .

    >> reporter: while bachmann supporters are no longer electrifying voters here --

    >> the next president of the united states , rick santorum .

    >> reporter: -- rick santorum by contrast has seen a power surge , suddenly within striking distance of the front-runner mitt romney . santorum 's support spiked on thursday and friday in the newspaper polls, with 41% of caucus voters still unsettled, the last 48 hours and efforts to close the deal could ultimately decide the winner.

    >> they need to be getting out around the state, giving voters a last chance to actually meet the candidate in person. i think that personal connection is very, very important. it is a stronger connection than you get from seeing a candidate on tv.

    >> reporter: today on "meet the press," santorum defended his support of romney four years ago as a stronger conservative than john mccain . credentials he now criticizes.

    >> i made the political judgment right or wrong that the best way to start john mccain , which is what my concern was.

    >> i had a lot of earmarks.

    >> reporter: rick perry targeting the resurgent santorum of late, went to church this morning but otherwise kept a low profile . late today, santorum turned the tables, mocking an earlier stumble by perry.

    >> i love these candidates who get these huge applause, i'm going to get rid of this one and this one and one other one and then --

    >> reporter: romney , meanwhile, continued his final push as some in the largely evangelical voting bloc in iowa continue to wrestle with questions of his mormon faith.

    >> how about his faith? does that pose a problem for you?

    >> it does.

    >> reporter: the problem for newt gingrich today out on the trail, romney 's money, hitting the former massachusetts governor 's wallet with gingrich saying he would buy it if he could. jon huntsman made himself at home in new hampshire, off to a running start when the race catches up to him in the granite state right after iowa . kate?

    >> ron mott, thank you.

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