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For Whom Ron Paul Tolls

Yesterday, Mike mused about whether a last-minute Ron Paul surge in Iowa, perhaps fueled by out-of-staters participating in the caucuses, might destroy Fred Thompson's candidacy. In my current role prematurely throwing dirt on Rudy Giuliani's presidential grave, it seems to me the more interesting question is what impact a Paul surge, should it happen, might have on Hizzoner.

Depending on what poll you look at, Thompson and Giuliani are at or near tied (yesterday's Rasmussen puts them both at 8 percent). Moreover, Fred is going all out (or at least what serves as all out for him) in Iowa over the next few weeks, while Rudy has more turf to defend. If Paul (currently at 5 percent in Rasmussen) does surge, then, it might be at Giuliani's expense as much as Thompson's. Will it happen? Probably not. But Ol' Fred is doomed regardless of how he does in Iowa; Rudy coming in behind Ron Paul--that would be a story.

--Christopher Orr