Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is declaring an early victory in the race for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. Romney and his backers are ridiculing rivals Rudy Giuliani and John McCain for deciding to skip competing in the Iowa Republican Party’s Straw Poll in Ames this August.
Doug Gross is Romney’s Iowa campaign chair. "I frankly see the McCain/Giuliani decision as an indication that in the first round of this fight we won and they decided not to even fight," Gross says. In 1999, McCain did not compete in the Straw Poll and dismissed it as a "sham" because the candidates purchase tickets for their backers so they can cast Straw Poll votes.
Earlier this spring, Giuliani advisor Jim Nussle, the former Iowa congressman, called the Straw Poll a "circus." Romney has said if the Straw Poll is a circus, then he wants to be "the ringmaster."