Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts hoping to become the first Mormon in the White House, was this weekend embroiled in a two-front battle, where defeat would almost certainly end his quest for the Republican presidential nomination.
The first moment of reckoning comes at Thursday's caucuses in Iowa. Here, Mr Romney has lost a commanding lead to Mike Huckabee, the ex-governor of Arkansas. Five days later, New Hampshire holds its traditional first-in-the-nation primary, where Mr Romney must contend with the reinvigorated Arizona Senator John McCain
Always a key test, Iowa's caucuses are assuming particular importance in an election in which, for the first time in 80 years, no incumbent president or vice-president is running.
The Democratic race in Iowa is a virtual three-way tie between Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and John Edwards, the party's vice-presidential candidate in 2004.Reuse content