Romney: Oh, you'd better believe I'd vote for Ron Paul over Obama

Via Mediaite, a predictable contrast to Gingrich’s ambivalence yesterday. Newt needs a win in Iowa or a close second to boost him in South Carolina and right now Paul and Romney are making that unlikely. He has to attack. All Romney needs is a decent third-place finish or better behind Paul and one of the lightly funded social-con candidates like Bachmann or Santorum who pose no real threat to him nationally. He’s right on track. Why say something critical that might give undecideds in Iowa pause about Paul and might give Paul fans even more of a reason not to hold their nose and vote Romney down the line against Obama? He refused to even mention Paul by name this morning when criticizing him on Iran, in fact, even though Paul’s new ad unloads on him for being a serial flip-flopper. It’ll be amusing to see how far he’ll let Paul go in attacking him without responding as the early primaries play out. And unlike 2008 when McCain and Huckabee played nice with each other after they emerged as the two remaining viable candidates, Paul will attack.

New Hampshire’s an open primary, don’t forget, so if Paul wins big in Iowa via Democratic and independent support and Romney finishes worse than expected, Romney may have to start firing back whether he wants to or not. Maybe we should do a pool on when he flip-flops on his intention to support RP over The One. Exit question: Santorum also said today that he’d support Paul over Obama, however grudgingly. Er, why would he say that? He badly needs a win in Iowa and this would have been a powerful grenade to toss at the frontrunner — who, don’t forget, almost certainly won’t end up supporting the eventual GOP nominee over Obama when he’s asked to choose.