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From the Sidelines, Giuliani Handicaps Iowa

Rudy Giuliani may be on the outside looking in at the famed Ames straw poll this weekend, but his campaign has taken a keen interest in their rivals' preparations. (Bloomberg).

The PowerPoint presentation (see it here) prepared for senior advisers to former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani is blunt: the mayor's rival, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, is outspending and outhustling Giuliani in the crucial state of Iowa. The 16-slide presentation notes that Romney has "A large number of endorsements, a large, well structured statewide staff, leads in most of Iowa public polling" and has "an unrivaled Ames Straw Poll turnout operation."

Giuliani chose not to participate in the Ames straw poll, but he has said he will compete vigorously to win Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucus. The document, obtained by the Washington Post, takes great pains to lay out how much more his rivals have done to prepare in the state, but also provides an assessment of the mayor's own position in Iowa. The bottom line, as captured by the title of slide number 13: "GIULIANI IS ORGANIZING FOR THE CAUCUS BUT STILL A LONG WAY TO GO."

According to the document, volunteers for Giuliani have made "tens of thousands" of calls to identify likely Giuliani voters. Six regional chairs have been recruited and the campaign has recruited county chairs in 56 of the 99 counties in Iowa. The document claims the campaign has 2,801 active volunteers in the state.

In recent Iowa polls, Giuliani usually trails Romney and is often tied with non-candidate Fred Thompson. A Washington Post poll released Aug. 5 showed Romney with the support of 26 percent of likely caucus voters, while Giuliani had 14 percent and Thompson 13 percent.

But the PowerPoint indicates that Giuliani continues to build an Iowa presence: Eleven full-time staff, a headquarters in Clive and ten satellite phone bank locations. It says that every caucus-goer household has been contacted at least once in 21 counties.

The presentation concludes that Romney will "continue to outspend us in Iowa," but argues that Giuliani's momentum is building there, thanks to his strength at "retail politics."

"We are seeing growth in our organization on a weekly basis, and this is just the beginning," it concludes. "With the dog days of summer soon to be behind us and 6 months to go, strategically speaking, our campaign is primed and ready to mobilize a true grassroots volunteer army in Iowa."

Can Giuliani, a New Yorker whose pro-choice views and urban sensibilities are not an obvious plus in rural Iowa, win here? If you believe the advisers who prepared the presentation, he can.

"Iowans are just getting to know Rudy, and they like what they see."

--Michael D. Shear

By Post Editor  |  August 10, 2007; 6:00 AM ET
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