"Iowa is critical to our campaign, and it may in fact be everything to our campaign," says one Thompson official. "If we don’t do what we need to do in Iowa, it will be tough to compete effectively down the road."
"What we need to do" appears to be "come in third":
Thompson has said publicly that he needs to finish in the top three in Iowa. Campaign officials say that a strong third place finish–presumably behind new frontrunner Mike Huckabee and former frontrunner Mitt Romney–would likely give them enough momentum to survive New Hampshire and compete in South Carolina and beyond. A second place finish would be a victory. "Just when the interest is there the greatest, is when we’ll be here the most."
Of course, Fred’s problem is that he has nothing in New Hamsphire, Michigan, or Nevada. He needs some indication of his viability going into South Carolina . Can we take this to mean that Fred will be "all out" on Jan. 4 if this doesn’t happen?