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Oh-eight (R): Huck on the ropes?

GIULIANI: The former New York mayor appears to be moving on from Iowa. "Aides said the ex-mayor won't even return to Iowa for the caucus results," the New York Daily News writes. "While Giuliani's 20 stops in the state since the campaign began may seem like a lot, some Iowans said they didn't see enough of him to take his measure."  

HUCKABEE: The Politico's Martin writes, "Since becoming the Iowa frontrunner, Mike Huckabee has been subjected to a month-long siege of media scrutiny and mostly unanswered attacks from his top rival - an onslaught that any presidential hopeful would be hard-pressed to survive… Huckabee's slide can be explained by a series of inter-related factors. His rise came right as the media began to closely cover the campaign, he and his undermanned campaign organization have been ill-prepared to push back against broadsides from both the press and Romney and his positions and rhetoric have drawn the enmity of a constellation of groups within the conservative establishment."

When he's asked about the biting attack ads being slung at him by rival Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee likes to laugh off the tough talk, NBC/NJ's Carrie Dann reports. But a new mailer going out to Iowa Republicans makes it clear that he's playing serious defense. In fact, some might say that he sounds like a man on the ropes.

"He faced each decision with integrity," reads the lettering at the top of the 5.5" by 11" flyer. "Mike Huckabee doesn't base decisions on politics or polling." Here's the remarkable line: "While there may be some decisions he would change in hindsight, the fact remains that he made these tough decisions with the most current information available, and based on what he believed was best for his state and the nation."

The mailer features a list of the "tough decisions" Huckabee made as governor, including his turning down of 7,600 clemency requests and carrying out of 16 executions. "While some try to distort Governor Huckabee's record for political gain, Arkansas voters rewarded his consistent leadership and success by re-electing him - twice."

Huckabee's Amway connection? The Chicago Tribune: "Quixtar is a sibling of controversial multilevel marketing giant Amway, whose founders and owners have a long history of backing Christian causes and conservative Republicans. According to Huckabee's public schedule, Quixtar hosted the event. 'We found out later from a friend it was some kind of Internet marketing thing,' said Bill Evanich, an avid Huckabee fan who attended the evening at a hotel conference room late last week. 'I thought it was political, and that we'd get to ask questions.'

"On Saturday, Huckabee, who has been a paid motivational speaker in the past, said he was not compensated for appearing at the event, though he jokingly said, 'I wish I had been.' He said he knew some in the audience 'were part of that network' but that he had no association with Quixtar. Quixtar's blend of Christianity, conservatism and consumerism could be helpful to Huckabee, a Baptist minister, as he seeks the backing of evangelicals in his bid to win the Iowa Republican caucuses Thursday night.

NBC/NJ's Adam Aigner-Treworgy spoke with Patrick Davis, who is running the pro-Huck Common Sense Issues/Trust Huckabee group, and Davis talked about the polling and the ad. It's a  $50,000 Iowa cable TV buy for the 29th through the 1st, and will be extended if money is there. It will be airing on Fox News across all cable systems. They have spent 70,000 so far on behalf of Huck, and they are back on the phones making "educational" calls in Iowa until the caucuses.

MCCAIN: The Los Angeles Times looks at McCain's struggle to woo indie voters in New Hampshire away from Obama. Maybe it's why in recent days, McCain's reminded folks of what he believes is Obama's chief weakness: inexperience. 

ROMNEY: "To win the White House, you can't just win one state," Romney said. "You have to win these purple states, like Iowa and New Hampshire. And I'm going to fight in Missouri, and Michigan, and South Carolina, and Florida, and California. I'm going to be all around the country making sure that if I get this nomination, I'm not just a one-hit wonder."

THOMPSON: For any other candidate, this might be a good headline. But for Thompson, who has been battling a perception that he's not that interested in running, having an AP story noting that he doesn't have a burning desire to be president is not a good thing. Iowans, in particular, award the ambitious.