Mitt Romney downplays his Iowa strategy

Holly Bailey

Mitt Romney is again playing coy about how much he'll invest in winning Iowa's Republican presidential caucuses in January.

In a series of fundraisers yesterday in Florida, Romney suggested he'll spend just enough to have a good showing in the state, but that he doesn't expect to win, sources tell the St. Petersburg Times:

Romney said after airing ads in Iowa for nearly an entire year during the 2008 campaign, he has not run any spots to date. Romney told the crowd his campaign calculus was that he could spend nothing and come in fourth or spend a bit and finish second or third. He guessed that Republicans could split the first three events, which would make Florida particularly important.

Romney predicted a Tea Party favorite would win Iowa and that he would take New Hampshire, according to interviews with six people in the audience. Romney told the crowd he would seal the nomination by then winning Florida's Republican contest.

Romney's comments come as he's slowly increased his presence in Iowa in the last month. Last week, he campaigned in the state for only the fourth time this year, and next week, he's set to visit the state again.

The former Massachusetts governor recently filmed in an ad in the state, though his campaign has declined to talk about the spot or when it might air.

Romney's strategy of doing just enough to stay competitive appears to be working.  A new Bloomberg poll finds Romney in a statistical four-way tie in the state with Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul.

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