EDITOR OF REDSTATE
Will Iowa Be the GOP’s Version of Gephardt vs. Dean?
Mitt Romney has to win New Hampshire. His own campaign has set those expectations. If he does not win New Hampshire it is game over for Mitt.
Unfortunately for Mitt Romney, expectations have been set so high for him in New Hampshire, a win might not be enough if the win is close. And right now Newt Gingrich is surging in New Hampshire. He has gone up dramatically now within 14 points of Romney. Likewise, Huntsman is going up too. Both are cutting into the numbers of other candidates, including MItt Romney.
If Newt Gingrich does as polls are suggesting in Iowa — a big win — he will have big momentum going into New Hampshire, but not just New Hampshire, South Carolina too. Winning two out of the first three races and then going to Florida where Newt is also ahead will pretty much destroy the inevitability argument Romney has had.
In other words, Romney needs to stop Gingrich in Iowa. But about the only way to do that with one month to go is to unleash hell on Gingrich. That brings us to Dick Gephardt and Howard Dean.
In 2004, Dean was surging and Gephardt had Iowa as a must win state. They went nuclear on each other, wiping each other out in Iowa. It opened the door to John Kerry’s campaign, which everyone had written off for dead and also John Edwards. It was a game changer that could happen again.
The real irony here for Romney is that throughout the campaign season, all the candidates have been fighting each other while Romney has stayed safely above the fray letting the others either implode or slay each other. Now he is in the position of having to get his hands dirty against Gingrich while all the other candidates can just sit back and fight for the crumbs.