Whether it's because Herman Cain is criss-crossing the nation on what looks more like a book tour than a presidential campaign, because the race itself developed later this year, or because candidates have to spend too much of their time preparing for debates rather than meeting voters, the fact is that the leading Republican candidates have made fewer trips to early states than they did four years ago.
A review of candidate schedules this year, conducted by Hotline staff writers Stephanie Palla and Matt Vasilogambros, shows the top contenders haven't invested much time traveling Iowa and New Hampshire.
Front-runner Mitt Romney has spent just six days in Iowa since July 1, significantly fewer than the 22 days he spent in Iowa between July 1 and November 1, 2007.
That year, Romney made Iowa a much higher priority. This time around, he's placing a greater emphasis on New Hampshire. During the last four months, Romney has spent 22 days in the Granite State, compared with 11 days in 2007.
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