DOWD: I think the most difficult person right now for him to decimate would be Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney seems to be best able to sort of adapt himself to the circumstances of the time and make himself seem that he can appeal to independent voters. Whether it's true or not, he seems most adaptable to that environment.
TANDEN: But that's one of the reasons why it's easier to go after him. In times of trouble and anxiety, a guy who you can't count on for anything I think is a good argument for the...
TAPPER: You sound like the Bush campaign of 2004 talking about John Kerry.
DOWD: The problem with that is, nobody sees President Obama like they saw President Bush. Nobody says, "Wow, President Obama is a strong, resilient leader."
TAPPER: We have -- we have to wrap this up.
TAPPER: I want quick predictions. Iowa, Tuesday, what's going to happen?
DOWD: Three-way -- three-way tie. And I don't know who's on top. Three-way top.
TAPPER: With the three...
ROBINSON: I'll go Santorum with the momentum.
TAPPER: Santorum number one (inaudible) Neera?
TANDEN: I'd say Mitt Romney wins with less than he had before.
TAPPER: Santorum. Sant-mentum.
Up next, we head to Iowa and the reporters who've covered this campaign day in and day out, and Hawkeye state Governor Terry Branstad joins us with his on-the-ground expertise.
TAPPER: Seven candidates, 13 debates, hundreds of rallies, thousands of commercials, millions of dollars, but now it all comes down to just one question: Who will Iowa voters pick on Tuesday night?
Let's go to Des Moines and Iowa Republican Governor Terry Branstad. Governor, happy new year. Thanks for joining us.
BRANSTAD: Happy new year. And I'll tell you, I think we're going to have a great turnout. People want a change in direction. They know we can't sustain this increase in the national debt, a trillion dollars a year under Obama. And they don't like the fact that he's divided the country, attacking the very people we need to invest and create jobs.
TAPPER: All right, so who do you think is going to win on Tuesday? Who has the edge? Would you -- would you agree with the Des Moines Register that right now it looks like it's between Romney and Ron Paul?
BRANSTAD: Well, also you see Santorum kind of surging here at the end, so I think it's a wide-open race. I've always said that a candidate like Santorum that goes to every county and works really hard, puts the time in and builds the organization has a good chance.
I think Romney also has come back and worked very hard in the last few weeks and has had a very successful bus tour. Ron Paul has worked this state very hard, as well. So those are the three that are the front-runners.
But also, Rick Perry could do better than some people think. And Gingrich, of course, was ahead just a few weeks ago. Who knows? It all depends upon who turns out. And I think we're going to see a good turnout, because people want to replace Obama with somebody that's going to restore fiscal integrity and focus on private-sector jobs and grow the America economy again.
TAPPER: Why do you think this Republican caucus has been so volatile with so many frontrunners and so many people going up and down in the polls like a rollercoaster?