It's been a week of marathon campaigning for GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich: five or six campaign events each day, hitting Rotary meetings, pizza restaurants and coffee shops.
With the caucuses just days away, it's time for closing arguments in Iowa. Gingrich says his argument is that he's a supply-side conservative with experience both in balancing the budget and in making government work.
Even as President Obama relaxes with his family in Hawaii over the holidays, he knows what's on the horizon when he returns to work in Washington.
He will start where he left off, facing new skirmishes with Congress over a push to extend a temporary cut in payroll taxes. That temporary extension was approved just days before Christmas after a high-stakes gamble that finished only after most of Congress had left for the year.
On Jan. 3, Iowans will caucus at 1,774 precincts across the state, in the first contest of the 2012 presidential nominating process. Above, Iowans caucus in 2004 at St. John's United Methodist Church in Des Moines, precinct 87.
Credit Shaun Heasley / Getty Images
At 7 p.m. central time on Tuesday, Jan. 3, the first contest of the 2012 presidential nominating process takes place in Iowa.
As you've heard countless times, Iowans vote in caucuses, which are small political meetings held in 1,774 locations scattered around the state.
NPR political correspondent Don Gonyea has prepared this basic guide to next week's contest.
Former Democratic state legislator Ed Fallon, a vocal member of the Occupy movement, said activists should take part in the caucuses.
Credit Becky Lettenberger / NPR
In a cavernous Des Moines meeting hall just west of the state Capitol, progressive activist and writer John Nichols had a simple message for those involved in Iowa's iteration of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
"Learn to get cool with losing," Nichols told about 50 people who had come to hear advice from longtime activists, including veterans of the civil rights battle.
"Get comfortable that you absolutely will be told you can't succeed," he said, and with the notion of a long-term struggle "that may last beyond your lifetime."