Was Tancredo's endorsement of Romney a "stinging setback" for Fred?

I sure thought so, but with the caucuses eight days away it’s time to start laying the groundwork for blaming the media in case Fred disappoints. So here’s Jed Babbin explaining why the phrase “stinging setback” is and can only be further proof of the AP’s left-wing bias:

There is a small problem with the AP story: the facts. Tancredo did endorse Romney, but Thompson actually benefited from Tancredo’s withdrawal, possibly more than Romney did. Thompson’s campaign staff was stunned: not by Tancredo’s speech, but AP’s coverage. And here’s why.

As reported by The Politico, Bill Salier — Tancredo’s Iowa state chairman — is joining Thompson’s team: “He’s a true-believing social conservative who ran an uphill race in the ’02 GOP Senate primary that raised some eyebrows. In short: He’s the sort of worker bee a campaign likes to have on its side. If Salier puts his shoulder to the wheel for Fred, he could be a major asset.”

The basic story was not contrived: Tancredo did withdraw and endorse Romney. But the misreporting of it was the functional equivalent of an attack ad directed at Thompson. And it cannot have been accidental. No young reporter would be able to do that without an editor’s approval. Or, more likely, an editor’s orders.

If Tancredo’s withdrawal caused his chief Iowa asset to shift allegiance to Thompson, how is Tancredo’s endorsement of Romney a “stinging setback” for Thompson?

Because the seal of approval of the most stalwart border enforcer in America is worth more than two weeks of work from his chief strategic asset? Salier “could be” an asset for Fred; Tancredo is an asset for Romney. Fred pitched himself as the true blue anti-amnesty warrior of the big five; he rolled out the most thoughtful, serious immigration plan among them; he was the logical choice for the Tancredo benediction and might have benefited tremendously from having an advocate as media savvy and beloved by the base as Tanc doing the rounds on cable news to stump on his behalf. Instead the buzz went to Romney. It’s undeniably a setback; the only question, given the Salier pick-up, is whether that setback on balance falls so far short of “stinging” as to make an in-house conspiracy at the AP the likeliest explanation for their word choice. I’m skeptical.

But since I know the Fredheads are going to complain, here’s a little free advertising for their guy. He needs $250K in the next three days to run his new ad in Iowa. Rick Moran’s trying to get a blogburst going to help him along. Click the image to watch and donate.

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