In preparation for tomorrow night's debate, things are already buzzing in South Carolina. I just got off the phone with a well-known GOP operative in South Carolina. He's on his way to the Silver Elephant Dinner. (Sean Hannity is the guest speaker.)
He tells me that McCain and Romney, by far, have the best on-the-ground operations. Ultimately, it's a clash between two well-known state operatives, who faced each other in the bitter 2000 race between McCain and Bush ...
McCain's South Carolina operation is headed up by Richard M. Quinn -- a former partner of Lee Atwater. Quinn also ran McCain's SC operation in 2000. (Of course, McCain is tight with Sen. Lindsay Graham.)
I'm told that Romney's operation is headed up by Warren Tompkins, the same guy who headed Bush's SC campaign in 2000. Tompkins is also widely respected, and, I'm told, is tight with Sen. DeMint.
(Giuliani's guy is Barry Wynn, a CEO and former chair of the SC GOP.)
Politics is different in South Carolina. It seems that on-the-ground, things are already a little nasty.