Hours from voting, many Iowa GOP voters still undecided, with Romney predicting caucus win
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Unpredictable to the end, many of Iowa's GOP voters still hadn't settled on a favorite candidate just hours before they cast the first ballots of the 2012 presidential contest.
After weeks of face-to-face campaigning and millions of dollars in advertising, Republican presidential hopefuls made last-minute appeals to undecided GOP voters.
A confident Mitt Romney, the front-runner for the GOP nomination, told a rally Monday, "We're going to win this thing."
Whether he would pull that off was far from clear.
On Tuesday night, Republicans will gather in living rooms, high school gymnasiums and local libraries to start the process of picking the 2012 GOP nominee. In each precinct caucus, voters will urge their friends and neighbors to support a preferred candidate.
George W. Bush presidency barely mentioned in Republican contest
PERRY, Iowa (AP) -- A funny thing happened recently in the presidential campaign in Iowa: The last Republican president's name actually surfaced.
"We've had, in the past, a couple of presidents from Texas that said they weren't interested in wars ... like George W. Bush," a voter said to Ron Paul, the Texas congressman who has been sharply critical of U.S. military entanglements overseas. "My question is: How can we trust another Texan?"
It was an odd, almost discordant moment in a GOP contest where Bush, a two-term president who left office just three years ago, has gone all but unmentioned. While the candidates routinely lionize Ronald Reagan and blame President Barack Obama for the nation's economic woes, none has been eager to embrace the Bush legacy of gaping budget deficits, two wars and record low approval ratings -- or blame him for the country's troubles either.
"Republicans talk a lot about losing their way during the last decade, and when they do they're talking about the Bush years," said Jack Pitney, a political science professor at Claremont-McKenna College. "For Republicans, the Bush administration has become the 'yadda yadda yadda' period of American history."
The eight-year Bush presidency has merited no more than a fleeting reference in televised debates and interviews. When it does surface it's often a point of criticism, as when former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum told CNN on Sunday that he regretted voting for the No Child Left Behind education law Bush championed.
24-year-old man under arrest in connection with LA arson spree that rattled residents
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- It was another night of firefighters scrambling across the nation's second largest city to snuff out a series of arson attacks when a tip came in about a German man who matched the description of someone with a shoulder-length ponytail captured on a surveillance video near where a car fire was reported.
Five hours later Harry Burkhart was pulled over by a reserve sheriff's deputy who works for $1 a year and later booked for investigation of arson of an inhabited dwelling. Since the arrest, firefighters have not responded to any other suspicious fires.
While the investigation is ongoing -- authorities haven't ruled out the possibility that others may be involved -- Burkhart's arrest was a measure of relief to anxious residents who had grown fearful after several nights of seemingly random blazes.
"Our long four-day nightmare is over," said Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky.
Iowa caucus, Los Angeles arson; Mount Rainier killing in the news
A screen grab from the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's website. (Courtesy image)