At the Diner with Rudy
By Joel Achenbach
NASHUA, N.H. -- Rudy Giuliani (yes, he's still a candidate) just showed up at Jackie's Diner, and a handful of volunteers, sprinkled amid dozens of camera people, tried to get a chant going ("Who do we want? Roo-Dee"). To call it a feeble, lame and borderline pathetic chant would not be ungenerous. But no matter! Giuliani is only sort-of campaigning here. He's had a few events, but he's pretty much phoning it in. He's banking on the big states down the road.
"Mayor, where do you win first?" someone shouted.
"Where the voters decide that," Giuliani answered.
He used a baseball metaphor: These are only the opening innings.
In a doorway a few steps away, Giuliani adviser Ted Olson tried a different metaphor: "This is not a sprint."
It's a marathon. What matters most is what happens after New Hampshire, leading up to the voting on Feb. 5.
"How big is New York? It's pretty big," Olson said.
Further down the sidewalk stood Frank Luntz, the Republican pollster. His focus groups showed a big win by Mitt Romney in the debate last night. He said the Obama-boom will siphon some independent votes that might normally have gone to John McCain. The McCain-Romney contest is too close to call, he said, but voters who value personality will be more likely to go for McCain and those who focus on policies will be more likely to go for Romney.
The Democratic race isn't so complicated.
"What I think is that Wednesday morning a few Hillary staffers are going to be looking for employment," Luntz said. (He likes to precede a pithy comment by saying, "Here's the sound bite.") He said that in 48 hours, Hillary Clinton is going to remind voters of the tiger that got loose at the San Francisco Zoo. "And Barack Obama is going to be one of the teenagers."
Web Politics Editor
January 7, 2008; 2:20 PM ET
Categories: Joel's New Hampshire Diary
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