Giuliani Says He Doesn’t Need Iowa, New Hampshire

Some big words from America’s Mayor, story from the AP:

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Early momentum has been the surefire way to win modern presidential primaries: Emerge as the front-runner in Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina, then steamroll through later states to become the nominee. Most of the Republican candidates are betting on this approach for 2008, but Rudy Giuliani is counting on something simpler: delegate math.

His plan is based on the fact that Florida and several other big states, trying to loosen the grip of the traditional early contests, are voting earlier than usual to compete for influence and attention from the candidates.

The shake-up might help Giuliani capture the nomination, even without the “must-win” early states.

Giuliani’s not entirely crazy for thinking this way. Remember that in 1992, Bill Clinton received a minuscule 3% of the Iowa Caucus vote and went on to win the presidency, proving you don’t need the early states to ultimately win.

Which states matter most, earlier ones or later, bigger ones?

In Orlando, Fla., retired Army Col. Terry Fiest says he doesn’t take marching orders from the early states.

“I think Iowa is a myth,” Fiest says. “Iowa is like the starting gate of a marathon. I don’t even gauge Iowa.”

His friend Craig Hartwig, who lives in Mount Doro, Fla., adds: “We’re not bandwagon people.”

This sentiment led Florida to move its primary from March to Jan. 29, four weeks after Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses.

Giuliani actually leads in Florida, according to RCP, by about 17 points on average. This is pretty amazing for the socially liberal politician from New York.

To be honest, it would surprise me if Romney doesn’t win Iowa, and maybe New Hampshire. However, will that strategy pay off? Giuliani is betting it won’t.