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Romney Rising

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Romney’s strong effort in Iowa is producing an interesting strategy from the MSM eager for a long campaign and perhaps soon from other GOPers, which is to simultaneously attempt to downgrade the importance of the caucuses while setting up Romney to lose the expectations game.  The Politico’s story, “Does Romney Have Iowa Locked Down,” is exactly the sort of story Mayor Giuliani and Senator Thompson love to see as it both puts in play a meme that, if repeated, diminishes the excitement around the first-in-the-nation contest while also setting the bar for Romney very high.  Expect more “Iowa doesn’t matter as much as it used to under the old calender” talk from every candidate who sees Iowa as a lost cause (Senator McCain followed by ?).  The MSM will also start harumphing about the fading importance of the caucuses as soon as a front-runner appears on either the Dem or GOP side.  They need a long campaign and an extended primary fight.

But nothing beats winning, and no matter all the spin, Iowa is a key test of the ability to organize and win in a purple state crucial to ’08.  The GOPers skipping Ames made one mistake.  Underestimating the importance of the January caucuses would be a second huge mistake.  You can’t win a nomination by losing elections.

And from the National Young Republicans Convention:

Young GOP straw poll results tallied*

HOLLYWOOD — The straw poll results from the Young Republicans national convention are tallied, but according to some attendees, they come with a big asterisk.

Former Gov. Mitt Romney, who spoke moments before the balloting, won* with 46 percent followed by former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson with 28 percent and then former mayor Rudy Giuliani with 10 percent. The other seven candidates took a combined 22 percent. A total of 366 votes were counted.

The asterisk was prompted by a number of Thompson fans who complained that some Romney supporters were voting even though they weren’t Young Republican members.

It seems Thompson’s folks lost sight of the fact that the straw poll is absolutely meaningless — it’s just for fun.

Memo to the disappointed Thompson folk among the YRs: There is no crying in baseball, or straw polls.

Hughniverse

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