Giuliani Distances Himself from "Florida Firewall"
For some time, it has been clear that Rudy Giuliani was not going to win the Iowa caucuses, but recent polls show that New Hampshire may also be slipping out of reach - as Mitt Romney takes leads in both states. Meanwhile, Fred Thompson's southern roots are helping him to run strong in South Carolina. He also seems to losing faith in his Florida Firewall's ability to keep him in the game should he lose Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.
"It is not inconceivable that you could, if you won Florida [after losing in the early states], turn the whole thing around," Giuliani said. "I'd rather not do it that way. That would create ulcers for my entire staff and for me. . . . We want to win as many of the early ones as possible. That's why we're here and not in Florida right now."
Besides not wanting to tell voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina that he doesn't think he needs them, he is almost certainly sweating his "big state strategy" - which puts the focus on states that hold their primaries on or after February 5th. The main reason for this is that Romney has been translating his Iowa strength to New Hampshire and South Carolina (and also to Michigan, who have moved their primary up - Romney's grandfather was governor of Michigan). The "firewall" was based on no one racking enough wins in the early states to gain significant momentum. Now, it seems the Romney will be that person.
The Cook Political Report seems to concur, giving Romney the same odds as Giuliani to win the Republican presidential nomination - 45% each (leaving very little room for the likes of Thompson, McCain, and Huckabee to win, in Charlie Cook's estimation).