— From NBC/NJ's Erin McPike
DUBUQUE -- Remember "a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush?"
Seven years later, something like it may be back. At least in Iowa, is a vote for Huckabee, a vote for Giuliani?
At a house party meeting of the Iowa Christian Alliance here last
night, surprise guest Jim Bopp, a conservative activist and RNC
committeeman from Indiana who's endorsed Romney, issued this warning,
"I believe that a vote for any one other candidate in the Iowa caucuses
is a vote for Rudy Giuliani. This is the only man who can stop him from
getting the nomination."
But the "anyone else" really wasn't anyone other than the second man
from Hope. "My realistic choice is that either a conservative is going
to emerge that has the ability, the campaign, the money, to compete
with Rudy Giuliani in a very compressed primary season," Bopp said,
putting extra emphasis on the word, "money," "or Rudy Giuliani will be
our nominee. That is the choice." He then cited Romney for being the
conservative who's raised the most money and has the ground
organization to compete.
Immediately after, Bopp said, "You know, I love Mike Huckabee. I love the guy. He's great on life; he's great on family. But one thing I know for sure, he does not have the resources to compete."
Near the end of Romney's appearance, the candidate said after pointing out that both Bopp and ICA President Steve Scheffler had brought up Huckabee first, "We're both, I believe, almost identical on the issues of life and marriage and some of the issues that are of great concern to you. But we share a different view on immigration, for instance. So there are places where we do have some difference," he said, segueing from his initial answer on an education question into the contrast between the two due to Huckabee's support for in-state tuition aid for the children of illegal immigrants.