Report: Bill Richardson to direct Iowa supporters to Obama?

Shocking if true since he’s always been touted as a potential veep for Hillary. “Directing one’s supporters” has to do with the arcane procedures of the Iowa Democratic caucus. Unlike the GOP side, which is a fairly straightforward straw poll, a Democratic candidate has to reach some preset standard of “viability” on the first precinct vote. If they don’t make it, they’re out — and their supporters are free to go to one of the other candidates (or go home). Human Events has a nifty summary. Richardson’s pulling five percent in most polls so if his supporters do defect to Obama, with the race this close it’s a big deal. If they go to Hillary, obviously that’s a big deal too. One of his campaign spokesmen denied the story this morning, but given that whoever wins tonight is likely to ride the boost to a win in New Hampshire and become the heavy favorite for the nomination, he’s in line to play kingmaker and earn whatever reward his candidate of choice has promised him. If you do hear some report tonight of his people pointing one way or another, that means they’ve got the inside scoop on who’s likely to win and they’re hitching up to the bandwagon.

More bad news for Hillary: The Register says independents are expected to caucus with the Democrats tonight, an ominous trend for the Glacier insofar as most are likely to prefer Obama and even more ominous for the GOP given overall electoral trends. Bob Novak and Chuck Todd say if it ends up Obama/Silky/Hillary, she’s basically done. Wouldn’t an Obama/Hillary/Silky outcome also have a huge downside, though? In that case, not only is the inevitability myth shattered but Edwards may start thinking about getting out and she needs him in the race for as long as possible to keep drawing from the Messiah. Any scenario in which Obama wins is egregiously bad news for her, in other words; any other scenario ranges from great to OK. From the GOP perspective, even though he’s the furthest left and most demagogic of the three, Silky winning would guarantee a competition all the way to February 5, bleeding the three of them of money and energy and offering lots of opportunities for attack soundbites.

So … root for Silky, I guess? I can’t do it. Your exit question, courtesy of WaPo’s Dan Balz: How does Huck turn a win tonight into a path to the nomination? He’s a sure loser in New Hampshire, which will blunt his momentum, and he still hasn’t raised much money, his frontrunner status notwithstanding. Pray for McCain to knock off Mitt, head for the Romney family’s stomping grounds to rally the evangelical troops, and just cross those fingers?