Tommy Thompson continues to position himself for the Iowa caucuses. Iowa State University political scientist Steffen Schmidt says the former Wisconsin governor and Bush cabinet secretary is well positioned, in a big field vying for the attention of Iowa voters. "Some of the heavy hitters have either big negatives associated with them, or large question marks hanging over them," says Schmidt.

There's at least one report indicating Thompsom may soon name a high profile campaign manager for Iowa. "With this open field, and this many people wanting to run, there just aren't that many really strong professionals" available to run campaigns, says Schmidt, adding that Thompson will need to make that decision "fairly quickly."

Schmidt says the Iowa caucuses are "sort of an expectations game," and even a third place finish in the Republican straw poll could put Thompson in a good position. "You don't have to come in first in Iowa. In fact, it's very rare that the person who comes in first actually goes all the way." Schmidt adds that Thompson's reputation as a moderate within the Republican party will be helpful as well.

AUDIO: Bob Hague reports (:60 MP3)

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