Some think there’s a theory by which the NRLC endorsement of Thompson helps Rudy by setting the ideological pro-life bar so low. That would be what some deride as a “zebra” theory (when you hear hoof beats don’t assume some exotic explanation for the sound). The “horse”(simple) theory is this a disappointment for Romney. (So I suppose if you buy into the two man race theory Romney’s loss is Rudy’s gain.) Mitigating the injury to Romney is that the nod did not go to Huckabee who is a more significant threat to Romney in Iowa. Despite having James Bopp, Jr., the longtime counsel for NRLC on board, Romney has yet to land a mega-endorsement like NRLC or FRC. It may not matter at this point with social conservative leaders so divided. However, it would be ironic if all those policy shifts on social issues didn’t pay off for him (with a significant nod from one or more top social conservative leaders) but in the end voters chose Romney for executive competence. (Or worse from his perspective, that the downside from the flip flopping on social and other issues outweighed any benefit he gained and he lost on the character/resolute leadership issue.) So my take: good news for Thompson and bad for Romney but unlikely to change the dynamics of the race.
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