Iowa Caucuses Shake Up GOP Presidential Field

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What a difference a few months can make.

Last summer, Rep. Michele Bachmann barnstormed into Iowa, finishing first in the GOP's straw poll.

But Tuesday night she failed to convince voters in her native Hawkeye State that she was the best candidate to represent the Republican Party in the race against President Barak Obama.

After a dismal sixth place showing with just 5 percent of the vote, Bachmann announced Wednesday she is suspending her campaign.

Charles Dunn, a distinguished professor of government at Regent University, will share his insight on the outcome of the Iowa caucuses on Newswatch, Jan. 4.

"I have no regrets, none whatsoever," she told supporters at a Des Moines, Iowa, news conference.

"We never compromised our principles and we can leave this race knowing we ran it with the utmost integrity," she said.

Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who finished one spot better than Bachmann in fifth place, initially sounded like a candidate getting ready to throw in the towel.

"I've decided to return to Texas assess the results of tonight's caucus, determine whether there is a path forward for myself in this race," he said Tuesday night.

But moments before Bachmann's announcement Wednesday, the Texas governor tweeted, "Here we come South Carolina" -- indicating that he's still in the contest and plans to continue campaigning.

Perry, who entered the race late in August, found himself behind the other candidates in Iowa who had spent several more months organizing their campaigns. In the end, he got just 10 percent of Tuesday's vote.

Experts like political analyst Matt Dowd say the narrowing field could bring more challenges for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

"Because he hasn't been able to close the deal on conservatives," Dowd said. "He needs to do that. He needs time to do that."

"If these candidates -- Rick Perry drops out, Michelle Bachman craters -- then it's a problem because then those could go to Rick Santorum or they could go to Newt Gingrich," he explained.

"So the smaller this field gets, the quicker it gets, the more problematic it gets for Mitt Romney," Dowd concluded.

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