Romney: 2012 race would 'take me to Iowa'

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney hinted Wednesday that he would contest the early state of Iowa should he jump into the 2012 presidential race.

In an interview with conservative talk host Hugh Hewitt, Romney said a 2012 campaign would "take me to Iowa, as well as other early states."   

It's hardly a declaration that Romney will focus as intently on the state as he did during his 2008 run for the GOP nomination, but the comments are an indication he's inclined to play in Iowa as his advisers reportedly mull the possibility of skipping the caucuses completely.  

"If I get in this, I'm not going to be doing so much of a political calculus as I am a calculus of what message needs to be heard by the American people and how I can deliver it best," Romney said, according to The Des Moines Register. "And that surely will take me to Iowa as well as the other early states."

Bypassing Iowa entirely could be a risky strategy, and Romney might be more inclined to focus his energy on New Hampshire and simply downplay the significance of the caucus outcome. 

During his 2008 bid, Romney spent millions to wage an extensive Iowa caucus campaign, only to come up short to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Given the high expectations, Romney's disappointing second-place finish was a severe blow to his chances of capturing the nomination. 

Should Huckabee opt for another run next year, he would be the early favorite in Iowa, with much of his '08 organization in the state still intact.