Mitt Romney's aides announced amid the Newt Gingrich campaign breakdown that he'll be skipping the Ames Straw Poll, a crucial test of organizational strength in Iowa and an event he spent a hefty $1 million on in 2007, only to lose the caucuses.

Mitt Romney's aides have done a delicate dance managing expectations about how strongly he'll play in Iowa, and the argument against competing at Ames for him is his already-high name recognition and current poll standing in the state. To lose at Ames would raise doubts about his grassroots support and create a real perception problem.


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