GOP Presidential contender Mitt Romney predicted victory in Iowa Monday — a dangerous move in a state where the unique caucus system often defies polls and something that both shocked his advisers and caught them off guard.
“We’re going to win this thing with all of our passion and strength and do everything we can to get this campaign on the right track to go across the nation and pick up other states, to get the ballots I need, the votes I need, to become our nominee,” the former Massachusetts governor said in Marion, Iowa.
Romney’s sudden declaration of campaign confidence sent his campaign into damage-control mode with a statement that their candidate was talking about the campaign as a whole, not specifically Iowa.
But the display of confidence comes as Romney urged slightly ahead of his rivals with a surging Rick Santorum closing in and Ron Paul appearing to hit his ceiling of enthusiastic — but limited — support.
Romney’s declaration led David Kochel, his Iowa strategist to turn to top political strategist Stuart Stevens and say: “Did you hear that? Our guy said we’re going to win Iowa.” The exchange was reported today by Holly Bailey on The Ticket.
“Overconfidence is a dangerous thing, especially in Iowa,” GOP operative Karl Ivers told Capitol Hill Blue. “People hear that sort of thing and they start thinking: ‘Yeah, well I’ll show him.’ The next thing you know a former long shot like Santorum captures the whole thing.”
Good weather is forecast for most of the state, which many watchers say could help Romney and hurt Paul.
Ivers said Iowa’s results won’t mean much in the long run.
“The real primary season starts in New Hampshire,” he said. “In the long run, Romney is still the candidate to beat.”