HUCKABEE: The candidate held a press conference to say he was not running a negative ad against Romney and then showed it to reporters anyway. "Reporters asked whether it was hypocritical to pull the ad, then show it to journalists," The Des Moines Register writes. "'People want to be cynical about it, they can be cynical about it,' Huckabee said. 'If I said we were not going to run an ad ... you'd say, 'Where's the ad?'
"Several placards displayed at the news conference carried the message 'enough is enough,' but they also included criticism of Romney, the former Massachusetts governor. One charted how many non-Republican judges Romney had nominated in his home state; another said he approved tax-exempt bonds to construct a building for Planned Parenthood. Huckabee said the decision to withdraw the attack ad was made a short time before the scheduled news conference and people who set up the event did not know of his decision."
The AP's Fournier adds, "If he loses Iowa's caucuses, New Year's Eve will forever mark the day Huckabee blew it - the day a crowd stopped laughing with the witty Republican and laughed at him. If he wins - a possibility that even Huckabee now thinks he put at risk - he sealed victory in a weird way Monday."
ROMNEY: The New York Times' David Brooks writes a pretty devastating column about Romney: He says the ex-governor is unelectable in a general election. Romney "has turned himself into the party's fusion candidate. Some of his rivals are stronger among social conservatives. Others are stronger among security conservatives, but no candidate has a foot in all camps the way Romney does. No candidate offends so few, or is the acceptable choice of so many… And what Romney failed to anticipate is this: In turning himself into an old-fashioned, orthodox Republican, he has made himself unelectable in the fall. When you look inside his numbers, you see tremendous weaknesses."
The New York Times looks at the tough weeks that Romney's faced. "The past two months, described in a series of interviews with Mr. Romney's advisers, amounted to a test of Mr. Romney's ability to adapt to a rapidly changing political situation and harness the corporate culture he prides himself on to keep his candidacy from being damaged or even derailed."
The point of the story may be that this is Romney's true test, and if he somehow gets by Huckabee and wins Iowa, he may just pull this off.
Romney's second stop of the day yesterday was in Bellevue, IA, NBC/NJ's Erin McPike reports, and that was the first time he visited Bellevue. There were about 70 people at the location (Potter's Mill), and one of the waitresses, a Democrat, said she loved John Edwards, but after seeing Romney, she said she was nearly certain she is going to switch her registration to Republican and caucus for him
THOMPSON: The candidate "on Monday posted a 17-minute video offering his final arguments to Iowa voters on why Republicans in the state should support him for president in their precinct caucuses. Thompson told an audience at the Charles City Public Library that the message he wanted to convey in advance of Thursday's caucuses was too long for a television commercial. He has complained that modern presidential campaigns do not allow candidates to give detailed answers."