The Politico quotes Romney trying to downplay his own chances in Saturday's South Carolina Primary while at the same time raising John McCain's expectations:
“This is a state (South Carolina) I’d expect that Sen. McCain has pretty well wrapped up. It would be an enormous surprise if he were unable to win here.”Hmm. Interesting.
Let's set aside the millions of dollars that Mitt Romney has spent in South Carolina on staff, TV, radio and mail. Spending that has gone on for well over a year.
And after all that money and all that time it looks like Mitt Romney is going to come in fourth on Saturday. Fourth! Which probably speaks to Mitt's overall appeal down south. Which is brutal.
But that's not our point.
We'd like to address Romney's casual, "This is a state I'd expect that Senator McCain has pretty well wrapped up."
How could Romney "expect" that?
John McCain got his teeth kicked in 2000 in South Carolina. Almost literally.
And, after Michigan, Team Romney argued that 2000 results matter in 2008. Which is why it was such a big deal that Romney beat McCain in the Michigan Primary after McCain had won the primary in 2000.
So if 2000 results really matter in 2008, as Team Romney argued after Michigan, how could Mitt Romney "expect" John McCain to win South Carolina in '08?
He can't. Because Willard can't have it both ways. Even though he always tries to.
If John McCain wins South Carolina on Saturday it will be a big deal. Because it will show just how far the maverick Senator has come in terms of uniting a good chunk of some very different factions within the Republican Party.
But to argue that a McCain win in 2008 in South Carolina is expected? After the results of 2000?