Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Romney's Still the Man to Beat in GOP Race

Wow, the Obama Tsunami dissipated short of the New Hampshire shore. The Clinton machine will now endeavor to burn him down. It won't be pretty.

On the Republican side, what would you call the candidate that has won the highest number of delegates and the highest number of votes to date among the Republican presidential candidates? A sure loser, of course!

According to CNN’s analysis, here is how the delegate count looks after New Hampshire:

30 - Mitt Romney (24 pledged and 6 RNC)
21 - Mike Huckabee (18 pledged and 3 RNC)
10 - John McCain (10 pledged and 0 RNC)
6 - Fred Thompson (6 pledged and 0 RNC)
2 - Ron Paul (2 pledged and 0 RNC)
1 - Rudy Giuliani (0 pledged and 1 RNC)
1 - Duncan Hunter (1 pledged and 0 RNC)

All the pundits, the same that predicted a big Obama New Hampshire win, keep saying Romney is done if he doesn’t win this race or another and keeps coming in second. That would be true in a Gore-vs.-Bradley-2000-like campaign. In that race, it was a zero-sum game. One candidate would “win” and the other would “lose.” But a round-robin series of anti-Romney candidates “winning” only allows the only truly national candidate to continue to keep his lead in overall primary and caucus votes and more importantly, delegate counts.

Say Mitt comes in second in Michigan. Who will be the delegate leader after that race? Romney still.

The pundits should drop the “Romney must win all early contests to beat Giuliani in Florida and on Super Tuesday” path to victory meme? They refuse to rethink the campaign and continue to call Romney a loser. But he’s still in the best position to win the nomination. Who’s in a better position organizationally, financially and politically? Aren’t the pundits implicitly saying Rudy’s strategy is still working by holding Romney to his initial early contest plan? If not, what is the new theory of the campaign?

I’ll say it again, Romney can hijack Rudy’s strategy, especially in a compressed contest calendar where campaigns can’t score and spend significant cash infusions in time to move the neddle. The self-financed Romney can compete nationally, the others (McCain and Huckabee) can’t.

On to Michigan. Romney’s birthplace. Let’s see how a week of Rush Limbaugh teeing off on John McCain can do to the Straight Talker.

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