Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Romney Makes Major Push in Iowa

The New York Times reports that the fluidity in Iowa lured Mitt Romney "back for a full-throated effort to win the state, including a last-minute decision to spend New Year’s Eve here."

And at Los Angeles Times, "Romney looks poised for Iowa victory, maybe even if he loses" (via Memeorandum):

 After a campaign effort that has defied convention and angered top Iowa Republicans, Mitt Romney is well-positioned to emerge as a big winner in Tuesday's presidential caucuses.

The tightest GOP caucus contest in decades features Romney, Ron Paul and a fading Newt Gingrich in a virtual tie for the lead, making the final days of politicking unusually consequential. And another candidate, Rick Perry or Rick Santorum, could get hot at the end and knock one of the favorites out of the top three.

But it seems increasingly likely that Romney, condemned only last month by Iowa's Republican governor for ignoring the state, has managed to finesse the tricky voter test that he failed four years ago. He ran second then to upstart Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and ex-evangelical minister, despite investing huge amounts of time and money.

Just before flying to Iowa on Tuesday for a four-day campaign swing, Romney said that expectations were "very different this time." He then tried to lower them, noting that a couple of weeks ago he "was a distant third in Iowa, and you just don't know what's going to happen in this process."
The Times delivers a conspicuous non-mention of Michele Bachmann there, but what can you do?

And a win for Ron Paul is a win for Romney, or so it goes.

Politico has more, "Mitt Romney in striking distance of Iowa win":
Don’t look now, but Mitt Romney suddenly seems like the Iowa front-runner.

The former Massachusetts governor has carefully tempered expectations in Iowa all year, visiting only a handful of times and saving the bulk of his television spending for the final weeks of the race. But as a crowd of conservative opponents keep the anti-Romney vote divided, his odds of a victory in the state that humbled him four years ago have never been better.

Even as he tried to keep talk about his prospects in check Tuesday, a slew of public and private polling and anecdotal evidence on the ground suggests that Romney is within striking distance of a first-place finish in Iowa — especially as Ron Paul’s momentum spurt appears to have run into the reality of front-runners’ scrutiny.