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Bachmann quits GOP race; Romney on to NH

KASIE HUNT and STEVE PEOPLES • Jan 4, 2012 at 12:25 PM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Michele Bachmann has ended her presidential campaign — leaving her supporters up for grabs as Rick Santorum tries to become the conservative heavyweight in the Republican race.

Santorum's near-tie with Iowa caucus winner Mitt Romney topped a rise from deep in the polls to contender for the presidential nomination.

Bachmann said Wednesday she has "decided to stand aside" but would continue fighting to overturn what she called President Barack Obama's "socialist policies."

Like Bachmann, Texas Gov. Rick Perry took a blow in the caucuses — finishing fifth. He flew home to decide whether to stay in the race. It appears the answer is "yes." He tweeted Wednesday that he was bound for South Carolina.

Meanwhile, Romney jetted to New Hampshire to continue campaigning.

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