I guess it's time to take Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyOutgoing inspector general says Trump fired him for carrying out his 'legal obligations' Trump selects White House lawyer for coronavirus inspector general Overnight Health Care: CDC recommends face coverings in public | Resistance to social distancing sparks new worries | Controversy over change of national stockpile definition | McConnell signals fourth coronavirus bill MORE seriously again. It's hard to believe, but the guy could actually take it. While Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiGiuliani touts experimental coronavirus treatment in private conversations with Trump Trump team picks fight with Twitter, TV networks over political speech Sunday shows preview: As coronavirus spreads in the U.S., officials from each sector of public life weigh in MORE owns the national polls for now — and the Tommy Thompson endorsement as well — Romney is seeing the fruits of his labor in the early-primary states and now leads in Iowa and New Hampshire. It is consequential; momentum from victories there could knock Rudy right out of that big blue- and purple-state sweep he is planning for Feb. 5.

Add to this the big score on Giuliani's biggest liability, the social conservatives threatening a third-party candidate. This week Mark DeMoss, a conservative Christian publicist whose clients include the Rev. Franklin Graham, wrote 150 Christian leaders a five-page letter urging them to “galvanize support around Mitt Romney, so Mr. Giuliani isn’t the unintended beneficiary of our divided support among several candidates.” Or, “worse yet,” he warned, “so we don’t abdicate the presidency (and the future of the Supreme Court) over to Hillary Clinton.”

All along Republicans have warned Romney that the faithful wouldn't accept his faith — that the Christian right would never come around to accepting his Mormon religion. It's hard to see why this shift would happen now, only out of panic. But what if it does? If the conservative Christian coalition backs Romney, with enough enthusiasm, we have a whole new ballgame on our hands.


***

WHO THINKS WE ARE LOOKING AT A ROMNEY v. CLINTON RACE NEXT YEAR?
Send your thoughts and questions about all of this to askab@thehill.com and join me on ASK A.B., my weekly Q & A video, next Monday.