Last week, I speculated that Mitt Romney could still win the Iowa caucuses if he poured enough resources into the state over the next two months. Evangelical Christians might have the loudest voice in the Iowa GOP, but they don't constitute the whole party. They're matched by a set of business-minded Republicans who favor low taxes and defanging regulation and who are less concerned with the social issues that could derail Romney's campaign; thanks to the 2010 midterms, the ranks of registered voters from this wing has increased significantly since the last time Romney ran for president in Iowa.
It looks like Romney may have come to the same conclusion. He has two stops scheduled along the state's eastern border today after he barely visited Iowa for the first ten months of the year. And on Friday, the AP reported that Romney has rolled out robocalls against his main opponent in Iowa:
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney paid for automated telephone messages in Iowa accusing rival Rick Perry of contributing to illegal immigration.
It is the former Massachusetts governor's first attack message against Perry. And it's the clearest sign yet of Romney's hope of winning Iowa's leadoff caucuses.
If Romney were to win or place a close second in Iowa—followed by a likely wide margin of victory in New Hampshire a week later—he would confirm the expectation that he is the only viable candidate, diffusing any possible challenge from Perry, Cain, or any other conservative alternative.