"Plans are meaningless but planning is indispensable." -General of the Armies Dwight D. Eisenhower. "Discipline is nine-tenths of politics." -John P. Sears, Campaign Manager for Ronald Reagan and aide to President Richard M. Nixon. Ike was probably the greatest President in my lifetime. Eisenhower gave America four years of peace and prosperity, avoided foreign military entanglements and adamantly refused pressure to create deficits to fuel increased military spending. Eisenhower also sent the National Guard to Little Rock to enforce a new Civil Rights Law and was vilified by segregationists across the south for doing do. Nowhere is Eisenhower's planning dictum more accurate then in the context of a Presidential campaign. It was with meticulous planning that Richard Nixon executed the most remarkable political comeback in American political history in 1968. It was with meticulous planning the F. Clifton White secured the nomination of Senator Barry Goldwater in 1964, even though his candidate only cooperate after the nomination was clinched. Planning brought George Bush back to life in New Hampshire after Bob Dole had won the 1988 Iowa Caucuses. Dole came out of the Hawkeye State broke and disorganized after his campaign manager former Senator Bill Brock steered his campaign deeply into debt and chaos. Bush bounced back in New Hampshire after rolling out a Goldwater endorsement and launching a long-planned TV ad hitting Senator Dole as a "tax increaser." The Bush campaign pulled all other TV commercials off the air and aired this attack ad at saturation levels the three days before the primary. Roger Ailes had planned the ad as a contingency for months. Mitt Romney has had four years to prepare to run for President; his preparation and planning shows. That is why, with very judicious and careful spending and campaign message discipline, his campaign can sustain a drawn-out fight for the Republican nomination if the results of the first caucuses and primaries are inconclusive. Newt Gingrich quickly assembled a large enough pool of voters to win the Iowa caucuses. He is competitive in New Hampshire where an Iowa boost would put him over the top and he has a solid lead in South Carolina. Whether he can put together the structure just as rapidly to get these voters out remains to be seen. As many media outlets have pointed out, Gingrich's challenge is to hold these votes and add to them when there are no nationally televised TV debates left in the three weeks before the Iowa caucuses. Newt Gingrich is a remarkable rogue operator and a revolutionary cast from the Jefferson mold. He is brilliant on messaging, a man of ideas and action. But he is not a man of logistics and planning and can be weak on execution and mechanics. He sometimes flies by the seat of his pants and it showed when his campaign missed filing deadlines in Missouri and Ohio and scrambled to make the cut-off in Virginia. Mitt Romney's debate performance has steadily improved and his campaign is planned and thoughtfully strategized. He has three weeks to fend off the Gingrich onslaught, which already shows some signs of sputtering under the weight of negative ads that Romney strategist Stuart Stevens began thinking about weeks ago. The Romney campaign certainly will not miss any delegate or ballot access filing deadlines. Romney's planning pays dividends: the rollout of the endorsements of Mr. Republican, Bob Dole, and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley proves the Romney camp started nailing down those key endorsements months ago. Florida Republican Primary voters will avail themselves of the state's early voting system, which means some polls will be open for seven days before the primary. A growing number of voters take advantage of this opportunity - 18 percent in the 2008 general election - which means the campaigns must focus their message and bring their campaign to its peak one week before Primary Day. One thin is clear: Mitt Romney's campaign is well aware of this quirk and has planned for it. What will Newt Gingrich's campaign do? It is unclear, since his organization is still forming in the Sunshine State. Gingrich is also taking an historic beating, one of the great media pile-ons since the national media decided to hound Nixon from office. Few public figures could survive this drubbing. The national media could destroy Jesus Christ if they pounded on him long enough about his mistakes as a carpenter. Gingrich has engendered high negative poll ratings, largely because he is a man of many enthusiasms. This positions him poorly to survive an epic onslaught. Then there is the question of discipline, as emphasized by John Sears, one of my political mentors. Romney has exhibited remarkable message discipline and an impressive ability to side-step potential landmines. But his candidacy continues to lack any intensity among his supporters and there has always seemed to be a cap on the number of votes he can win among the primary electorate or Republicans at large - never greater than one-third. Bush, Dole, Reagan and McCain were all stronger front-runners with a larger number of solid primary supporters in the national polls. Newt Gingrich needs the discipline to not let his rhetoric lead him to step on a landmine. Mitt Romney merely needs to apply the same discipline he has shown for the last year and avoid childish comments like " Do you want to bet $10,000?" and -"I know Bibi Netanyahu too." Those unscripted comments make him sound like the kid you beat up in the playground in school. Whether the Presidency will elude Mitt Romney a second time depends on planning and judicious use of financial resources. It also may be decided by the discipline he has demonstrated in the campaign to-date.