- Play up Bachmann's economic inexperience
- Otherwise take the high road in criticizing MB
- Don't sweat a Bachmann victory in Iowa, but lay the foundation for a resounding Romney win in New Hampshire that should stop Bachmann's momentum, if any, cold.
A Bachmann victory in Iowa could eliminate at least one of Romney’s rivals, potentially even Pawlenty. Romney then could confront Bachmann on friendlier territory in New Hampshire, where her religious conservatism would not play quite as well. That would put Romney in the position of John McCain in 2008, as the ideologically questionable front-runner fending off a challenger more beloved by the base (Bachmann as 2012’s Huckabee). Romney is betting that the GOP establishment will get behind him this time, as it did for McCain four years ago.
Perhaps Romney, who is not participating in the Ames, IA straw poll in August, will mimic McCain’s path in another way: effectively skipping Iowa and letting Bachmann do his work there for him.