12.16.2007

Sunday Roundup: Edwards gets his endorsement, and Giuliani moves out of New Hampshire

  • Giuliani skipping the early-states
Rudy Giuliani is moving out of the New Hampshire airwaves. Not entirely (he is keeping a presence on WMUR especially), but he is dramatically scaling back his campaign operations in that state and moving them instead to Florida. This comes as a recognition that the former Mayor did not move up following the heavy input of resources in the state earlier in the fall; Giuliani is not only lagging far behind Mitt Romney but he is now also regularly falling behind a reborn John McCain.

Giuliani's strategy was also based on winning the large states starting in Florida on the 29th and following it up with the Feb. 5th states. But this strategy had been dramatically undermined by Romney's strength in the early states. As late as 20 days ago, Romney seemed in an incredibly strong position to sweep Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan, and South Carolina -- putting Giuliani in an almost impossible situation as Romney's momentum would then surely translate in Florida and 02/05 states. Feeling the urgency, Giuliani moved heavily in New Hampshire, sensing the need to get at least very strong seconds in New Hampshire.

But now that Huckabee looks set to win Iowa, the race will be muddied no matter what, and South Carolina will be a dogfight even if Romney does win New Hampshire. Giuliani thus naturally appears less worried about one candidate sweeping the early states -- and his campaign is hoping that they will still be strong by the time Florida strikes.

Giuliani's move can also be taken as acknowledgment by his campaign that Mitt Romney is too consistent and solid on top in that state to be toppled that easily, something that should reassure the Romney campaign that they are holding on in one state at least.

With 18 days to Iowa and 23 days to New Hampshire, you can be sure that every campaign is trying to develop fresh strategies reflecting the evolving situations -- so we should see a lot of such drastic moves in the coming weeks.

  • Edwards gets his endorsement
Clinton got the Des Moines Register's nod, and Obama was endorsed by the Boston Globe. Now, it's John Edwards's turn to receive an important endorsement: Mari Culver, the wife of Iowa Governor Culver, is preparing to announce her support for Edwards tomorrow. This will be seen as an implicit way for the Governor to get involved without making his support explicit; similarly, the wife of former Governor Vilsack endorsed John Kerry in 2004.

This should be a reminder that Iowa is still Edwards for the taking. He is very much in the running according to the latest polls, and most commentators agree that his baseline support is strong enough that he is the least likely of the three candidates to come in third. And as to confirm that the Iowa storyline is very much a three-way contest, Newsweek put Edwards on the cover today with an article entitled "The Road Warrior." The piece explains that the delegate bonus for Iowa's rural precincts means that Edwards could come in with much stronger results than raw votes would suggest and that he benefits more than the other two from the arcane caucus rules. Nothing particularly new in the article, but Edwards must be delighted to be back in the conversation after months of being ignored by the media.

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