ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
For all the attention that South Carolina is getting, at stake next weekend are just 25 delegates to the GOP nominating convention. Ultimately, the winning candidate will need more than 1,100. Republican Party officials have adopted new rules to try to prolong the battle for those delegates.
NPR's David Welna was at the GOP's winter meeting in New Orleans and sent us this report.
DAVID WELNA, BYLINE: It's been years since Republicans have had a long, drawn-out fight the way Democrats have had before settling on their party's presidential nominee. That's because Democrats were delegates only on a proportional basis in each state. In GOP elections, though, it's been winner take all, making it easier for a frontrunner to quickly build up an insurmountable lead. That is until this year.
The Republican National Committee has drawn up new guidelines stipulating that any state holding a contest before April 1st has to reward its delegates on a proportional basis. Adherence to that new rule or rather the failure by some states to do so proved a sore spot at the RNC's winter meeting last week in New Orleans.
BRUCE ASH: There are visitors in the room and there are press here, so if we conduct ourselves today, we need to be cognizant of that.