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Charlie Neibergall, Associated Press
Republican presidential candidate, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, speaks during the Republican Presidential Forum on Manufacturing, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011, in Pella, Iowa.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Five Republican presidential hopefuls are ready to pitch Iowa's Republican insiders on their campaigns while maintaining their collective "no comment" on the allegations of sexual harassment that have dogged rival Herman Cain.

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The pack candidates fanned out across the state on Friday to meet with supporters ahead of their remarks to the Iowa GOP gala during the evening. But they were reluctant to wade into the controversy that clouded Cain's campaign.

Former Sen. Rick Santorum, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Reps. Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann were set to speak to the state party event.

Cain was skipping the event, as was former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Both had scheduled speeches on the economy in Washington.