Wide-open race may be Romney's savior
As his campaign struggles to find the right message, observers say he may not have to win in New Hampshire to stay viable.
"........The turn of fortune has 'totally stunned' some inside the Romney camp, who think they need to finish first or a close second to improve their chances of winning upcoming contests in states such as Michigan, South Carolina and Nevada, said an advisor who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.
".......Romney plowed ahead Monday, seemingly undaunted. He made seven appearances with the same attention to promptness and detail that have become his trademarks. He conceded that victory in New Hampshire was not certain, but he promised a protracted fight for the Republican nomination.
".......'It's going to take a person who is himself an innovator, like myself, who has the experience to bring change to Washington, to be able to go head to head with Barack Obama and win,' said Romney.......
".......'I don't think [Romney] has to win there, as some say,' said Crockett, an associate professor of political science at Trinity University in San Antonio. "I think if he comes in second he is still viable. He has the money and the organization to fight on. And it's more wide open this year.'
"......He served only one term as governor of Massachusetts and never held office in Washington. He built his reputation, instead, as a leveraged buyout artist, management consultant and leader of the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.
"......'He's not deep entrenched in the old-boy network in D.C.,' Barbara Foglia, 67, a nurse, said after seeing Romney speak Monday at an Elks Lodge in Salem, her hometown. 'It's a fresh look. He has done well in business. I think he can get the job done.'"
--By Michael Finnegan and James Rainey, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers January 8, 2008