Mitt Romney has yet to file his South Carolina candidacy papers and some insiders have hinted that his strategy will downplay the Palmetto State this time.That's from FNC's Carl Cameron, who neglects to note that Romney has also "hinted" that he's going to downplay Iowa this time around.
You know what they call Republican presidential candidates who don't compete in Iowa and South Carolina? Losers! I'm not one to buy into bromides about must-win states, but this is very simple: Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina are all "must-compete" states. I suppose there's some flexibility for a frontrunner, if that's what Romney is, as far as allocating resources among the various early states all, but don't kid yourself; there's no rational strategy that involves skipping, or semi-skipping, any major early state.
Not that Romney is actually doing any such thing. This is all just a bit of expectation lowering; Romney certainly could win the nomination after finishing, say, third in Iowa, winning New Hampshire, and finishing second in South Carolina (while winning Nevada), but he'd rather come out of that sequence claiming that he'd achieved what he wanted to do rather than "losing" a couple of states. So, never too early to start spinning. Reporters might, however, be a little less eager to buy what he's selling.