Michele Bachmann’s stunning win in the Iowa Straw Poll and Rick Perry’s entry into the Republican presidential race have left front-runner Mitt Romney with a big decision, Pat Buchanan says.
Buchanan, an MSNBC political analyst who ran for president three times, twice as a Republican and once on the Reform Party ticket, writes on the conservative media website Human Events
that it’s time for Romney to reconsider his strategy.
The former Massachusetts governor has been mostly ignoring Iowa and hopes instead to bury his rivals in the New Hampshire primary. But he didn’t reckon with the Iowa Straw Poll, where Bachmann “both humiliated and eliminated Tim Pawlenty,” Buchanan writes in the Human Events opinion piece.
The straw poll also gave a big boost to Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who came in second.
And now another Texan, Gov. Rick Perry, has entered the race
“With Perry going into Iowa, the caucuses, from Christmas on, will rivet the nation's attention. If Romney is not there, he will be ignored for that month. And should Perry win Iowa, he would storm into New Hampshire and conceivably overwhelm Romney in his fortress state,” Buchanan writes.
“If he did, it would be all over for Mitt.”
Buchanan says Romney now faces a big dilemma: "Can I afford to cede Iowa to a tea party-values candidate like Perry or Bachmann and wait for them in New Hampshire? Can I take five months of pounding for 'writing off Iowa' and refusing to get out of my backyard and do battle in Middle America?"
And yet, Buchanan points out, recent events could end up working for Romney.
“Pawlenty, who appealed to the same Republicans, is gone. And still in Iowa are Bachmann, Paul, Santorum and Perry, all of whom will be competing for the same social conservative-tea party base,” Buchanan says. “Which leaves a huge opening for Mitt.”
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