Mitt Romney, locked in a dead heat with John McCainJohn Sidney McCainSantorum: Trump should 'send emails to a therapist' instead of tweeting Meghan McCain: Trump obsessed with my father because he 'will never be a great man' CNN's Amanda Carpenter: Trump attacking McCain 'to distract' from 'questions about the Russia investigation' MORE, is likely to benefit from the withdrawal of Fred Thompson and Mike Huckabee's inability to advertise in Florida. With one conservative out and the other hobbled, he is left more or less alone to face a divided moderate vote that will split between Rudy Giuliani and McCain.

With Florida having the third largest state delegation and using a winner-take-all formula, a victory here could be major for Romney.

Romney was also smart in anticipating the economy as an issue by his performance in Michigan. What many dismissed as pandering was, in fact, anticipating an issue and setting it up as his turf.

The second-place battle between McCain and Giuliani is, of course, key. If McCain can open up a big gap between himself and Rudy, he can make Super Tuesday into a real two-way fight without splitting his vote.