DES MOINES, Iowa -- Mitt Romney's aides here at the Hotel Fort Des Moines have largely given up on trying to manage reporters' expectations: They and their candidate are hoping to win Iowa and start wrapping up the nomination tonight.
Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom made the case instead that the campaign has managed to do this on the cheap.
Staff: 52 in 2007; 4 for most of 2011.
Spending: $10 million in 2007; $5 million (including Super PAC) in 2011.
Time: More than 100 days in the 2008 cycle; 18 days this cycle.
"It just goes to show you how we viewed Iowa early on, and as the conditions changed, we made adjustments," Fehrnstrom said.
Romney's aides began discussing a real dive into Iowa beginning in early December -- a gamble that could still prove decisive, or disastrous.