Is Rudy hearing Ron Paul's footsteps?

The Giuliani camp says its strategy is "looking good," but what happens if America's Mayor finishes behind Paul in Iowa?

By Tim Grieve

Published January 2, 2008 6:31PM (EST)

A new Pew Research Center poll out today tells you what you already know: Rudy Giuliani's "once solid lead" among Republicans nationwide has "vanished."

In March 2007, the Pew poll had Giuliani at 35 percent with John McCain 11 points back and Mike Huckabee clocking in at just 2 percent. In the new poll, Giuliani is at 20 percent, two points behind McCain and just three points ahead of Huckabee.

In a New Year's Eve memo to supporters, Team Giuliani said its "bold" and "innovative" strategy -- write off Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina in the hopes of turning things around in Florida -- is still "looking good."

Maybe so. As Giuliani strategy director Brent Seaborn noted in the memo, Republicans will have picked just 78 of the 1,259 delegates needed to secure the nomination prior to the Florida primary on Jan. 29. But here's a question: Will the strategy still be "looking good" if -- as the polls now suggest is possible -- Giuliani finishes behind Ron Paul in Thursday night's Iowa caucuses? And here's one more: Will Fox News be able to deny Paul a place at its Jan. 6 candidates forum in New Hampshire if he leaves Iowa ahead of Giuliani, who has already been invited?

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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2008 Elections Ron Paul Rudy Giuliani War Room