Mitt Romney will skip a key early test for Republican presidential candidates by forgoing the Iowa straw poll in mid-August, a decision that could recast the contest in the nation's first presidential nominating state.
The Iowa straw poll, held in Ames, is one of the landmark events of the nominating contest. Mr. Romney's decision sends the clearest signal yet that he doesn't want to wade deeply into the social issues that carry particular weight with Iowa Republicans and instead intends to present himself to voters nationally as a successful businessman who can improve the economy.
Mr. Romney's campaign said he would still compete in Iowa's caucuses, now slated for February, 2012. But the former Massachusetts governor's absence from the Aug. 13 straw poll will likely diminish his chances, some Iowa officials say, while raising the odds that whoever wins the poll will be best positioned to claim the status as Mr. Romney's top rival for the nomination.
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I personally think this is a mistake. I also think that announcing this fact this early, was not a good move. The only possible reasoning I could see for this, Is that Romney may feel he is opening up Iowa for a free-for-all between the rest of the candidates and may figure he could win it there by default or come in second with little or no effort.
I wonder if this means he will go all out in South Carolina and spend more time in Florida?