DES MOINES — Though Romney says that he’d be happy with a silver in the Hawkeye State, I think he needs to win here. One of the things that has helped Romney in the polls is the calculation that he’s electable because he’s run a very strong, well-managed campaign. He set a strategy at the beginning of the year to win in Iowa and New Hampshire, worked like the dickens (as he would put it) to see it through, spent a ton of time and money in Iowa, and built a world class organization here. If he loses to Mike Huckabee, who has spent a fraction of the money and has a comparatively small formal organization, it will be a major blow to the Romney concept of running a presidential campaign like a business venture. It will mean that at the end of the day, regular voters weren’t buying his product. To voters I’ve spoken to here who have decided to support Huckabee or Fred Thompson, what I hear over and over again is that Romney isn’t genuine–they just don’t trust that he’ll stick with his current conservative positions. Even though he still would maintain a strong organization in New Hampshire should he lose Iowa and his chances shouldn’t be discounted, I think that a loss here would badly damage Romney’s brand as a manager who gets results and ultimately doom him in New Hampshire as well, where John McCain has the momentum. A win here however, would demonstrate that Romney has some fight in him, that he was able to stave off a challenge from a surging Huckabee, and that his business model was successful. It would reinforce the idea of him as a competent manager, and give him momentum to counter McCain’s rise. So, for Romney, I think it does ultimately come down to Iowa.