'This Week' Transcript: Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann

PHOTO: Ron Paul


TAPPER (voice-over): This week, all eyes on Iowa.

ROMNEY: It's pretty warm in the political kitchen.

TAPPER: Voters get their turn to speak in just two days. But in the final hour, some candidates rise...

SANTORUM: We're growing by leaps and bounds.

TAPPER: ... while others fall.

GINGRICH: I'm very satisfied with where we are.

TAPPER: Our headliners today, the man who may win on Tuesday, Texas Congressman Ron Paul.

BACHMANN: Ron Paul would be dangerous as a president of the United States.

TAPPER: ... and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Iowa once seemed hers to lose. Now she's struggling to hang on.

Complete caucus coverage today, including reporters on the ground in the Hawkeye state, and insider perspective from Iowa's governor, Terry Branstad, and predictions from our powerhouse roundtable.

ANNOUNCER: From the Newseum in Washington, "This Week" starts now.


TAPPER: Good morning, and happy new year. I am Jake Tapper. We have lots to get to today.

But first, that brand-new poll from the Des Moines Register showing Mitt Romney and Ron Paul essentially tied in Iowa, Romney with 24 percent, Paul within the margin of error at 22 percent, and a last- minute surge for Rick Santorum. The former Pennsylvania senator rockets out of the single digits into third place with 15 percent. The story behind the numbers tells us Santorum has got the big mo.

The poll was taken over four days. And in the last two of those days, Santorum pulled ahead of Paul within a hair's breath of Romney. It's a trend to watch in the final hours of this hard-fought campaign.

Another key number, 41 percent of those polled say they still could change their minds. That's a glimmer of hope for the rest of the pack. Newt Gingrich, falling hard to 12 percent; Rick Perry, right behind him with 11 percent; and Michele Bachmann bringing up the rear with 7 percent.

So yet another twist in this race, and the dramatic turn of fortune for Gingrich is particularly remarkable. Just one month ago, he was on top in Iowa with 25 percent, but as our man Jon Karl tells us in our Sunday feature, it's a long way down.


KARL (voice-over): It was the week Newt Gingrich would like to forget. Think about it. He couldn't even get on the ballot in Virginia, and that's where he lives. So when the Virginia primary rolls around, Gingrich won't be able to vote for Gingrich.

He said it was like Pearl Harbor. Mitt Romney suggested Lucille Ball is a better analogy.

ROMNEY: It's more like Lucille Ball at the chocolate factory.

KARL: And midweek, Gingrich proved he could make chocolate just fine.

GINGRICH: Here I am in the chocolate factory.

KARL: Polls this week showed Gingrich in a freefall. One put him in fourth place, another in fifth. Gingrich has been hammered by negative ads...

(UNKNOWN): Newt has more baggage than the airlines.

KARL: ... and told us he hasn't quite figured out how to respond yet.

(on-screen): Forty-five percent of all ads in the state of Iowa have been negative ads against you.

GINGRICH: About me, right. I am committed to running a positive campaign. Politics has become a really nasty, vicious, negative business, and I think it's disgusting, and I think it's dishonest. And I think the people who are running the ads know they're dishonest. And I think a person who will do that to try to get to be president offers you no hope that they'll be any good as president.

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