Mitt Romney's path to the GOP nomination begins and ends in the early voting states.
Rudy Giuliani's path to the GOP nomination begins and ends with keeping his national poll numbers high enough to survive early voting state losses and make it to the Florida and February 5th contests still (mostly) intact.
Noted: Yes, yes, HRC and RG have a symbiotic relationship. We get it. And it's important in the GOP primary. But Rudy's real power to keep and hold the GOP primary faithful is, and always has been, his front runner status in national polls. Everyone loves a winner.
Over the last few weeks, Mitt Romney has watched as Huckabee has overtaken him in Iowa.
Much to Team Giuliani's delight.
Now Team Romney is watching as Huckabee creeps up on front runner Giuliani in the national polls.
To the point where Huck is within 3.5 points of Hiz Honor in the RCP average.
And if Huck passes Rudy and becomes the new national front runner, any last hope of Team Rudy's that Hiz Honor would make Florida and February 5th without an early state win, is gone.
Or, as Team Romney might say to Team Giuliani, "Welcome to the party, boys!".