The Giuliani campaign released the following from Campaign Manager Michael DuHaime: "We congratulate Mike Huckabee on a hard-fought victory in Iowa. This race is wide open and we will continue to run a national primary campaign designed to win the number of delegates necessary to become the Republican nominee. Rudy is the only Republican candidate who can not only win the primary and general elections, but will turn purple states red."
From NBC's Matthew E. Berger
MIAMI -- Giuliani campaign officials seemed to be enjoying Huckabee's victory in Iowa Thursday, mostly because it wasn't Romney picking up the prize.
The Giuliani campaign has always seen Romney as its most viable opponent, and the one most likely to campaign negatively against a challenger. So there seemed to be some excitement that Romney was being taken down a peg Thursday, and the fact that Huckabee was the victor was secondary.
Giuliani told Chris Matthews that Huckabee had run a "very positive" campaign, a slight swipe at Romney. He also said the campaign didn't expect to win in Iowa.
"We have a number of good Republican candidates and it's gonna be a mixed field," Giuliani said on MSNBC.
Even if Romney wins New Hampshire next week, the Republican nomination could be split several ways by the time Giuliani makes his big push in Florida on Jan. 29. But there is a caveat. A McCain victory Tuesday could be problematic because Giuliani and McCain attract largely the same voters. Indeed, Giuliani has been asked several times in recent days in New Hampshire what distinguishes him from the Arizona senator.
Giuliani has talked for weeks about a proportional strategy, and noting that it would be a 29 inning ballgame, for the number of states in play through Feb. 5. Therefore, it was interesting to see Romney of all people pick up the baseball analogy, talking about Iowa as the first inning of a 50-inning, 50-state game.
Campaign officials say Huckabee's victory won't change their strategy. They are still planning to gamble largely on Florida, and highlight early voting that is already ongoing in some of the larger states Giuliani is counting on.
They also said they would not likely attack Huckabee, continuing to only go negative against Republicans when provoked. The campaign had been engaged in a back and forth with Romney throughout the fall.