AP Top News at 4:07 p.m. EST

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) ? Throwing elbows to the end, Republican candidates jostled over their conservative credentials and appealed to Iowa residents who were casting the first votes of the 2012 presidential race on Tuesday for a strong send-off into the long campaign season ahead. Mitt Romney, a confident-but-cautious front-runner for the GOP nomination, looked past his Republican rivals to President Barack Obama in his final pitch to Iowa voters.

Obama appeals to Iowa Democrats on caucus night