It’s probably a smart move that Mitt Romney has revamped his Iowa strategy. Originally, he was going to let the crazies have Iowa and make his big move in New Hampshire.
The problem is that for the short period between the Iowa caucuses and the (presumably more rational) New Hampshire primary, he will have ceded all the media turf to whichever anti-Mitt happens to have captured lightning in a bottle for that particular moment, watering down his brand as the Inevitable One.
Contrary to popular belief, other people vote in the Iowa Republican caucuses (it turns out the plural is not “cauci” because it’s a Native American word, not a Latin one) besides Christian conservatives, so even a so-called heretic like Romney has a chance there if he devotes enough resources to the project.
The most important thing about winning the first two events is that they would effectively lock up the nomination for him, and he could then stop pandering to the right and start sounding saner sooner.
Since he’s already comfortable with changing his positions on the most defining of political topics, Romney should have no problem deep-sixing some of his more radical utterances and looking more like the squishily liberal governor of Massachusetts he once was.
Romney’s high-priced staffers, however, are fully aware that the Obama campaign is lovingly saving every second of footage showcasing their boy denying science, or saying that corporations are people too, or whatever, which is why limiting the period of time he’s stuck out on that limb is so critical. But he can counter with even earlier footage showing him saying just the opposite. This eclipses John Kerry’s fancy footwork back in 2004: “I was for it before I was against it, and against it before I was for it again.”