To review the bidding, Mike Huckabee beat Mitt Romney in Iowa on January 3 by nine percentage points, 34-25. Although it wasn't a surprise by the time the caucuses rolled around, it was a huge hit to the Romney machine. Huckabee was all the rage.
Five days later, in New Hampshire, John McCain beat Romney by five percentage points, 37-32 with Huckabee coming in a faint third at 11%. McCain was all the rage.Last night, in Michigan, Romney beat McCain by nine percentage points (as of this writing), 39-30 with Huckabee again limping in at 16% of the vote. Romney will, this morning, be all the rage.
In this strange, fore-shortened primary election cycle only Romney has had the resources to fight on all fronts, in all locations, simultaneously.
Because of that, candidates who have not competed in some states have not been gigged for it by the national political press. However, if you show up and run ads and say bad things about your opponents then you are in and you have to take your lumps.
In that regard, Huckabee would probably have been better off to have left Michigan to McCain and Romney and have headed straight to South Carolina after his weak showing in New Hampshire.
Thompson (for whom, I know you are tired of me telling you, I am a paid consultant) only showed up in New Hampshire long enough to participate in the debates on the Saturday and Sunday preceding the Primary before heading to the warmer climes and friendlier political winds of South Carolina.
Rudy Giuliani stuck a toe in the water in Iowa and New Hampshire and has been invisible here in South Carolina. He is planning to make his grand entrance in Florida which will hold its primary on January 29.
The pre-Michigan polling here has shown McCain with a five-ish point lead over the three-man pack composed of Romney, Huckabee and Thompson.
It is not giving away any family secrets to tell you that a Romney win in Michigan worked in Thompson's favor. Whatever bump Romney gets out of his win will still probably leave him within shouting distance of Thompson. A McCain win would have led to a bounce which, on top of his existing lead in the post-New Hampshire polling, would probably have put him out of Thompson's reach.