Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Romney Leading in New Hampshire

Below you’ll find an on the record e-briefing from National Press Secretary Kevin Madden on the latest CNN-WMUR poll of New Hampshire that shows Governor Romney leading the field with 33%, Senator McCain at 18%, Mayor Giuliani at 16%, Governor Huckabee at 5%, and Senator Thompson at 4%.

Romney for President, Inc.

Rudy’s panic button: In light of these numbers, the Giuliani campaigns abrupt decision to hit the airwaves in New Hampshire has to be seen as a push on the panic button.

This latest snapshot indicates that Governor Romney is still in a competitive position in New Hampshire as the primary date draws closer. Governor Romney’s message has remained optimistic, and a very specific appeal to voters based on his experience and his vision for leading the country has resonated with Republicans in New Hampshire.

Here come the attack ads: I expect these poll numbers will begin to narrow over the next few weeks, since New Hampshire presidential primary contests are always very competitive. Also, there is very little doubt that rival campaigns will view these numbers as evidence that they need to attack Governor Romney with negative advertising in an effort to try tear him down. With Governor Romney in a competitive position, other campaigns will start to show signs of desperation, taking direct aim at the governor and predictably resorting to distortions.

We will, of course, be prepared to respond to any negative attacks and distortions with an aggressive defense of Governor Romney’s true record.

The more they learn about Rudy, the less they like him: The canyon between Mayor Giuliani’s national name awareness and his standing in the early state contests where voters are familiar with his unorthodox record as a Republican, continues to widen.

Why is that?

Because, Republican voters in New Hampshire are getting more information about Rudy and his record and they don’t like what they see or hear. On issues ranging from immigration to protecting traditional marriage, Mayor Giuliani is finding that Republicans voters are at odds with his past record and his current positions

On immigration in particular, Republicans who have learned that the mayor encouraged illegal immigration while also embracing sanctuary city policies are finding such positions hard to fathom. On fiscal issues, New Hampshire voters interested in getting rid of wasteful spending don’t like the fact that Rudy Giuliani filed a lawsuit against the line-item veto and won, essentially tearing down an important Republican policy accomplishment at the heart of fiscal responsibility.

Republican voters are also turning away from Rudy Giuliani as a candidate because he is unavailable to carry a pro-life, strong social values issue mantle for the party in November.

Voters want change: The recent public focus on Bernie Kerik’s indictment likely had a negative impact on Mayor Giuliani’s already tenuous standing with voters as well.

The seemingly ever-present, negative narrative that has emerged to surround the mayor’s campaign may lead Republican voters to a troubling conclusion that the indictment of a top aide of Mayor Giuliani’s will hurt our party’s ability to draw a contrast with Senator Clinton on higher ethics. Similarly, Republican voters are likely to turn away from a candidate who could complicate our ability to run as the party that can change the ways of Washington.

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