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A long night in Iowa

Charlie Riedel / AP

Rick Santorum, center, looks over caucus returns with campaign staff in his hotel room on Jan. 3, 2012, in Johnston, Iowa.

Charles Dharapak / AP

Supporters of Mitt Romney watch caucus returns at his caucus night rally in Des Moines, Iowa, on Jan. 3, 2012.

Chris Carlson / AP

Newt Gingrich speaks during his caucus night rally in Des Moines, Iowa, on Jan. 3, 2012.

Evan Vucci / AP

Rick Perry is greeted by supporters after speaking on caucus night on Jan. 3, 2012, in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Michael O'Brien of msnbc.com reports on the results of the Iowa caucuses:

After a night that saw the two candidates claim the lead, the GOP announced that Mitt Romney beat Rick Santorum by just 8 votes to become the apparent winner. Ron Paul finished third.

 Newt Gingrich had an edge, at 13 percent, over Rick Perry, at 10 percent, while Michele Bachmann lagged in sixth, at 5 percent. Perry said he would take the next few days to re-assess his campaign.

"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 in remarks shortly before midnight. Read the full story.

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Newt Gingrich addresses supporters in Iowa after finishing outside the top three, emphasizing the need for a national discussion about reforming American governmental institutions and commenting on his fellow competitors.

Rick Perry thanks his supporters in Iowa and announces he is reassessing his campaign and heading home to Texas.