Before Mitt Romney can win there, he has to decide whether he wants to.
In presidential campaigns, we learn where candidates stand on the issues, but we also learn whether they have the attributes necessary for the office. (We've learned that Newt Gingrich has trouble with staff, for example.) One of the things a president must know is when to stand by his plan and when to adapt based on new information—and that includes knowing when to feed the media and when to ignore the pundits. For Mitt Romney, the Iowa caucuses are a test of these attributes.
Romney spent a lot of time and money in Iowa during the 2008 campaign. He came in second. This time, he says, he's going to run a lean campaign. Iowa GOP veterans read that to mean that Romney will try to do enough in the state to stay viable for future states where he's stronger but not risk time and resources that he can spend elsewhere. Focus too much on Iowa, and he'll raise expectations in Iowa, which would set up a repeat of what happened in 2008.
Thursday Romney put that plan into action. His campaign announced that he would not be participating in the Iowa straw poll in August. In the Iowa Republican political family this is the equivalent of saying you're not coming to Thanksgiving dinner. An informal vote, it is seen as an early test of a candidate's organizing skills. It builds hype for the caucuses and raises money for the party. Last time he ran, Romney said the straw poll was key to the campaign; now he says it's not. Already rival campaigns are offering this as another instance in which Romney changes his mind to suit the moment.
Complete article at Slate : http://slate.me/kYfeoj