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Romney Harnesses Anti-McCain Voices

Updated: 3:45 p.m.
By Howard Kurtz
Mitt Romney unveiled an ad today in which New Hampshire residents start out by saying nice things about John McCain. But that doesn't last long.

After two people praise the Arizonan as a patriot with an outstanding war record--giving the casual viewer the impression that this is a pro-McCain ad--they and others rip his Senate record.

"Wrong on tax cuts," says Gene Bois. "Supporting amnesty for illegal immigrants, taking jobs away from Americans," says Ray Brun. "He wrote the amnesty bill that America rejected," says Collett Hill. "He's had his chance in Washington to make things better," says Marie Paling.

Romney spokesman Kevin Madden acknowledged that these are not person-on-the-street interviews, as the style suggests, but carefully selected Romney supporters, including one leading a Women for Romney group.

McCain spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker dismissed the spot as "yet another false, negative and angry attack from Mitt Romney. Clearly the Romney campaign is nervous, because they know that a leadership and stature gap exists between Mitt Romney and John McCain--and hiding behind surrogates to do their dirty work won't do anything to change that fact."

Said Madden: "It's an accurate picture of New Hampshire Republicans talking about issues in their own words. We agree with New Hampshire residents that John McCain has very troubling positions on issues like taxes and immigration."

McCain, meanwhile, launched a new commercial in which he invokes his 2000 triumph in the Granite State. "Eight years ago, New Hampshire stunned the political world," he says before a giant American flag. "You turned convention on its head because you didn't care what the experts or the media said. My friends, it's a different time, but it's the same place. You haven't changed and neither have I. But the issues are tougher and the times more dangerous. I've learned a lot in eight years. And I feel better prepared than ever to lead this country."

The essence of McCain's pitch--tailored to the state's contrarian nature--is that he remains an underdog and needs help to defy the media establishment that wrote him off months ago.

McCain, also introduced a new commercial in Michigan in which he says "I've made a lot of people angry. I upset corrupt lobbyists and special interests when I passed campaign finance reform. I made the Pentagon angry when I took on Rumsfeld and said we needed a different strategy in Iraq. I angered the big spenders in Congress by opposing their pork projects and calling for ethics reform."

The ad tries to transform questions about McCain's temperament, and neutralize his image as a Washington insider, by depicting him as a lonely crusader against the powers that be.

By Washington Post editors  |  January 3, 2008; 2:32 PM ET
Categories:  Ad Watch , The GOP  
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McCain will NEVER get my vote. Living 20 miles from the border in San Diego, I've had my babysitter raped at the school bus stop by an illegal, my property inundated with illegals, my dog knifed in the chest by one (yeah, saw it with my own eyes....), friends killed on the road by vans stuffed with 25 illegals speeding on the wrong side of the road, and bikes stolen right out from under my kids "I need this bike, amigo....." HE WANTS TO GIVE AMNESTY TO ALL ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS. Hell no!! Safeguard our country! Yes to Legal immigration, NO TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. You showed your true colors in the Senate already Mr. McCain. Now get lost!!!!

Posted by: kermit4 | January 3, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

The president will have lots of McCain's working for him. We don't need a state department employee to be president. Romney's leadership and family focuss and integrity are the truley valuable combination available to us in this election that will be appreciated by many moderate democrats as well - family, ecomomy, military and security. He's the most well rounded.
Go Romney!

Posted by: jasonroiz | January 3, 2008 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Mitt Romney is pathetic.

I am a life-long Republican, but I will never vote for him - even if he runs against Clinton in the general election.

Just a couple years ago, Romney said McCain's immigration bill was "NOT AMNESTY" and was "reasonable." Now he says McCain supports amnesty.

Romney is the world's biggest flip-flopping liar.

Republicans, if you want any chance of winning in November, vote McCain in 2008.

Posted by: braveheartdc | January 3, 2008 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Filoporquequilo-Funny, But you are possibly not aware of an event Bushie had when running for Governor of Texas.

Unlike Ann Richards, his opponent, who took aim at a Satellite for the Cameras(Because there was nothing flying below 10,000 Ft.!), Bushie did manage to hit what he thought was a dove!

Turned out, he shot a Kildee-A protected bird, in front of cameras! The Photo of him looking down at the dead Protected Bird, Priceless!

Posted by: rat-the | January 3, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Message for american1: What about all the good things Pres. Bush has done?

Posted by: filoporquequilo | January 3, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Romney claims Bush ended our dependency on foreign oil. Read more at

Posted by: stefan | January 3, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

I liked Romney at the outset however he's proved to be more than a flip-flopper. He's a prevaricator. For example, he claimed falsely to be a hunter and to have the NRA's support. Other famous "hunters" include Bill "I-always-go-duck-hunting- with-my-rifle" and Long John Kerry who claimed one went deer hunting by crawling on the ground with a double-barreled shotgun. (Then, of course, we have the famous Dick "Duck!" Cheney... He actually gets out to the field but LOOGOUT!)

Posted by: filoporquequilo | January 3, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

We have an arrogant, incompetent, illiterate, and inept fool in the White House, a demoralized and decimated military, plundered treasury, trashed world standing, trampled rule of law and Constitution while the nation is sinking under an tidal wave of Illegal Aliens waving the Mexican flag in our faces while feasting at the trough of Public Welfare as they Kill, Rob, Rape thousands of American Citizens each year. .

In all, my country, a potential benefactor and beacon for all the world - is headed right off a cliff and to an third world status!

Senators? We as a nation can survive fools in our White House. What we CANNOT survive is fools in our Congress where most of our Presidential candidates reside.

In my view - and evidently in the view of many Americans - this has all come to pass because you, the elected and sworn stewards of this country, have allowed it to happen. Surely you should have known better...when you refused to abide by the Constitution or enforce our laws and disgraced your oath of office. The only way this nation is to recover is for the lot of you to be gone from those hallowed halls of Congress that have become a house of paid party-bound prostitutes swirling amidst the rubble of your own malfeasance - taking the country right down with you.

As a proud and concerned American that proudly served by Country in time of War as did my Father, my two brothers and my son. I am appalled and very angry at what self severing, corrupt politicians have done to my country!

Posted by: american1 | January 3, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Ohhh Ha Ha! That's a real Knee Slapper there Butchie!

Since you seem to lack something, let me make it Libbie Proof!

The Republicans are trying for the wrong roles! Many, would be better off doing what they can do best, and letting the Quarterback, be the Quarterback!

There is a Cabinet to fill!

Posted by: rat-the | January 3, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

set down the crack pipe and walk away . . .

Posted by: hawkgrrrl | January 3, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

To rat-the: maybe you should try doing this again, BEFORE consuming whatever it is that blurs your mind so dramatically. Take a nap and all will be better if the morning happens for you.

Posted by: ButchDillon | January 3, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

How do I try to get this across? Analogy?

The Players all arrive, but the Coach is a no show!

I wanna be Quarterback yells Terrell Owens! I can really run Fast!

No! I wanna be Quarterback screams Marion Barber, I can run through People!

I think I should be the Quarterback says Tony Romo, I can throw the ball, and have the training!

Well that's too bad Romo, because we are going to get together and beat you up!

Not perfect, but I think it makes my point! ;~)

Posted by: rat-the | January 3, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

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