Campaign Trail Runs Through Florida

You can ask anyone: getting to the White House starts with trudging through the harsh Iowa and New Hampshire winters.

But now, there's something new under the sun, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric reports.

And it's not because of those famous hanging chads.

By moving his primary up in the calendar, Florida state Republican Chairman Jim Greer finds himself in a battle to influence the nominee. It will be the first big delegate prize of Campaign '08, with 57 at stake, more than Iowa and New Hampshire combined.

And it could change the dynamic of the season, one week before Super Tuesday, when 23 states will be voting, including delegate jackpots California and New York.

"With us moving ahead of the primary, we get to offer a candidate a lot more momentum going into Super Tuesday," Greer said.

No one takes this new reality more seriously than the Republican frontrunner. Rudy Giuliani is doing what most New Yorkers in their 50's do, he's spending much of his winter in Florida, home to 1.5 million former New Yorkers.

Yesterday's pit stop at a NASCAR event was his 20th visit. He's only been to Iowa 15 times.

"I believe who wins Florida will win the Republican nomination," Giuliani said while campaigning in Florida. "It feels almost like home."

His strategy has him far behind in Iowa and New Hampshire, where Mitt Romney has a sizeable lead. But Giuliani does have a huge advantage here over all his rivals.

If history serves as any lesson, the Giuliani camp has reason to be nervous. Iowa and New Hampshire may carry little in the way of delegates but they do mean momentum. John Kerry was polling at 4 percent before winning both in 2004, afterwards, 53 percent.

By ignoring the past, Giuliani hopes to make a little history himself. By flying south for some of the winter, he hopes voters will consider this early-bird special.

"Thank God for Florida," he said.