"When Mike Huckabee wins Iowa, we then win New Hampshire," said a McCain campaign official.
JAMES ISLAND, South Carolina (CNN) – Maybe there's a reason Sen. John McCain's been so nice to Mike Huckabee lately.
It's increasingly clear that McCain's campaign is partially pinning its New Hampshire hopes on a Huckabee win in the Iowa caucus.
If the former Arkansas governor defeats former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the Hawkeye State, he could very well undercut Romney's long-held support in New Hampshire, allowing McCain to capitalize in the Jan. 8 primary his campaign considers a must-win.
Don't think McCain wants an Iowa win by the former Arkansas governor? Just ask his campaign.
Bobby Harrell, the South Carolina speaker of the House and one of McCain's state chairmen, offered this prediction on Friday night:
"When Mike Huckabee wins Iowa, we then win New Hampshire," he said at a campaign event here. "[McCain's] doing great in Michigan, we win Michigan. He comes to South Carolina, we win South Carolina. Then we are off and running for the momentum that we need to make this happen."
McCain's campaign also sent out an email Friday saying the veteran senator from Arizona "is best positioned to capitalize on a Romney defeat in Iowa – defeating him in New Hampshire, winning Michigan and South Carolina, and going on to sweep Florida and the Super Tuesday states."
Obama is striking a confident tone in Iowa.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - As Democrat Hillary Clinton appears to be lowering her expectations in Iowa, rival Barack Obama seems to be raising his.
Speaking in Guttenberg, Iowa Friday night, Obama said, "Whoever wins this caucus is likely to win the nomination, and win the presidency."
Earlier in Manchester, the Illinois senator told supporters, "We may just win this thing."
Meanwhile, Clinton – whose autumn lead among Democratic voters in the state has disappeared - said at a press conference Friday morning that Iowa had always promised to be a difficult state for her to win.
"I always knew it would be hard,” she said. “There’s no surprise about that. I don’t live in a neighboring state; I haven’t been here for years.”
Obama represents the neighboring state of Illinois. John Edwards, who posted a surprisingly strong showing in the caucuses in 2004, has maintained a sizeable grassroots organization within the state.
- CNN's Mike Roselli and Alexander Mooney