Fred hints that South Carolina isn't an absolute must-win

I had a laugh at the Fredheads’ expense late last night so here’s a juicy bone to chew on as atonement. A shockingly close second in SC could, I guess, propel him a tiny bit further. All he has to do to get there is beat any two of three among Romney, McCain, and Huck, despite actually having fallen a point in the South Carolina Rasmussen poll between December and January.

Keep hope alive!

Asked what he needed here in the Jan. 19 primary after a third-place finish in the Iowa caucuses and flagging in New Hampshire, Thompson said: “It might be first place.” He declined to speculate further.

“I need a strong signal that I’m a guy who will be strong in these upcoming states,” he said. “It very well could turn out that my political future depends on South Carolina.”

Thompson’s campaign sent e-mails Tuesday to “Thompson’s Troops” across the United States seeking volunteers to come to South Carolina at their own expense to recruit new supporters at events, turn out Thompson voters Jan. 19, make phone calls and knock on doors.

He’s not even running ads yet in the state. Any ‘Heads ready and willing to hit the ground in SC for their man? And, um, able to pay their own way down there to do so?

A little more good news, per Jonathan Garthwaite: Huck actually split the evangelical vote evenly last night with McCain and Romney. You can’t call one sample a trend but if he tanks with evangelicals in Michigan, too, it might be evidence that the constant attacks from talk radio are starting to soften his religious base. Good news for Fred and Mitt, although which one benefits more will depend on how Romney does next week.

And still more good news: Not only did the rEVOLution fail to manifest itself last night, but check this out. Good lord.

Update: St. McCain’s gotten a fundraising jolt from his New Hampshire surge. Would second place in SC do it for Fred?