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Rudy Giuliani leaves Barnes-Jewish Hospital Thursday, Dec. 20, 2007, in St. Louis. The Republican presidential hopeful, who spent the night in the St. Louis hospital with flu-like symptoms, left with a clean bill of health according to his campaign.

Time Magazine screams: Is Giuliani Facing Free Fall?

The answer is no.

But is there evidence to support this opinion? Flap found two excellent pieces today that not only accurately describe the Giuliani campaign’s strategy but also outline scenarios for Rudy’s nomination.

Assessing Giuliani’s Strategy

The most important insight, I think, still holds: delegates matter. And Giuliani is in a position to exit February 5 with the most delegates. For now. His biggest threat remains a Mitt Romney, having won Iowa and New Hampshire and opened his checkbook… which is why, despite the downside risk, the Giuliani campaign is comfortable with Mike Huckabee’s rise.

  • Are Mike Huckabee and now John McCain “perfect” foils for Rudy in the early states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina?
  • Are Huck and Mac the Romney stoppers and the absorbers of costly financed negative attacks by Mitt?
  • Will these negative media attacks drive them all into unfavorable opinion territory by the middle of January?

Jim Geraghty over at National Review: Giuliani’s Nomination Path – Tougher, But Not Blocked

Under that scenario, nobody’s the frontrunner by the time they get to Florida, which Rudy is still leading right now. Everybody could (and arguably should) have a win under their belts. In addition to each one of his rivals controling a faction of the pie, they’ll probably have higher disapproval numbers, as they will have been the target of attacks for several weeks as Giuliani faded into the background.

Since he surged, Huckabee has been getting much tougher coverage, as any reader of this blog has seen. Romney’s still getting hit from a lot of different directions – his dad and Martin Luther King, his immigration positions, the usual flip-flop charges, etc. If McCain wins New Hampshire, you’ll see him get coverage that’s much tougher. His foes will start reciting immigrationdeal-campaignfinancereform-gangof14-votedagainstBushtaxcuts over and over again. You’ll see every picture he’s ever taken with Ted Kennedy dominating the airwaves. If Fred Thompson surges, he’ll get knocked around, too. And there’s still some possibility of the murder-suicide effect; if any candidate goes too negative on another, the mud splashes on both of them.

So it’s possible that by the time we get to Florida, most of the other Big Five have won only one or two states and has higher negatives from several tough primary battles. Rudy can swoop in, win delegate-rich Florida, and then try to execute his big state Super Duper Tuesday strategy, and pound home, electability, electability, electability…

It’s not a perfect path to the nomination, but right now, no one has one…

And, let’s look at the numbers, particularly the GOP delegates Giuliani would pick up on Super Duper Tuesday and Florida.

Finance co-chairs Roy Bailey and Jim Lee noted in an e-mail to supporters that in the 25 states where polls have been conducted and are scheduled to vote before Feb. 5, Giuliani leads in 13 – far more than any other candidate.
The numbers are important, because with each state victory comes a share of the 1,191 delegate votes a GOP hopeful will need to capture his party’s nomination.

If Giuliani wins all 13 of the primary states where he now leads in the polls and that vote by Feb. 5, he’ll collect 758 delegates, a Daily News analysis found.

That’s roughly two-thirds of the delegates needed to win the nomination, and more than four times the 170 delegates that Giuliani’s closest rival, Huckabee, would amass by Feb. 5 if he wins everywhere he is leading now.

Is the Giuliani strategy one of patience and attrition? You bet.

It may not be a perfect path to the nomination and Rudy will undoubtedly take some hits over the next few days in the polls. But, somehow, Flap thinks that after Christmas this race will start a whole new inning for the Giuliani campaign in their 29 inning game – watch them score.

Stay tuned…..


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