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July, 21st 2007

Why do I not believe this is for real?

– Liz Mair

Today, Romney said he was scaling back his plans vis a vis the Ames Straw Poll, not wanting to "overwhelm" anyone.

Fat chance. Can anyone think of a straw poll in recent memory that Romney has not "overwhelmed" by inundating it with "supporters" paid to vote for him? Clearly, that's what happened with the YRNC Straw Poll in Miami a couple weeks ago, it's what happened at CPAC, and its what happened at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference last year.

Romney's statement can be read as one of three things (I'll let readers choose):

a) he's realized that he got a buttload of bad press as a result of what went on in Miami, and even though everyone knows that Ames is fundamentally about packing supporters in-- often from out-of-state, not cultivating supporters in Iowa and then getting them to vote for you there, Romney doesn't want to look like the jerk who's buying votes on a grandiose scale yet again-- so he's saying he won't be "overwhelming" Ames in order to make people think he's not a complete bad seed where straw polls are concerned;

b) he's attempting to dampen down expectations of how much he will win by so that when his (thousands) of paid supporters show up to Ames to vote for him, delivering a large-scale win, it will look even less contrived, and even more like there really is a massive groundswell of support for his candidacy (which I maintain there is not, at least not on nearly the scale he wants people to believe); or

c) he's realized (finally) that without Rudy, Thompson or (duh) McCain participating, it really is a waste of his money to bother paying loads of Romneyites from out of state to get to Ames and vote. Because honestly, of the top 4, he's the only one playing there, and so there's really no reason why he shouldn't win Ames by a very respectable margin anyway.

I'll let readers take a guess what my preferred option is.

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