Fred: I need to finish at least third in Iowa

He doesn’t spell out the consequences if he fails, but the implication is clear. Sorry to keep taking these trips down memory lane but how many of us imagined six months ago we’d be reading statements like this now, huh? Alternate headline: “Fred: I sure hope Ron Paul doesn’t beat me.”

In an interview with the NBC Sioux City affiliate, Thompson was asked, “You still have some ground to cover here in Iowa; polls show you fourth. Come Jan. 3, will you be happy to be in the top three or do you have to win Iowa?”

“Neither,” Thompson said. “I probably don’t have to win, but I have to do better than [fourth], and I’m planning on doing better than that. …We’re about where we need to be right now. We haven’t spent as much time out here. We didn’t get in the race as early as some others, but we’re going to make up for lost time.”

The Fredhead rallying cry on Jan. 2nd: “Better than fourth!” Which, incidentally, is where Fred stands right now, albeit just a few points behind Giuliani. Ironically, this may tempt Rudy to try to deliver a knockout blow by burning through a few extra dollars in the state, which would only benefit Mitt. Exit question: If you’re Rudy, do you go for the jugular or sit tight knowing that Mitt will probably outspend Fred into oblivion later anyway?

Update: One of Rudy’s big draws over Fred is his supposed greater electability. Here’s a poll result you should be hearing a lot about from the Thompson campaign, and with good reason:

electability.png