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Romney Contemplates the Race Beyond Iowa

By Michael D. Shear
BETTENDORF, Iowa -- With one day left before the Iowa caucus is over, Mitt Romney has already started looking past the state to his next big challenge: John McCain.

In comments to about 75 people at the elementary school here, Romney did not mention Mike Huckabee until he was asked. Instead, in his opening comments, Romney lashed out at McCain, who has now surged into a tie for first in New Hampshire.

"With regards to Senator McCain I think he was just wrong to vote against the Bush tax cuts twice," Romney said. "He continues to defend that vote. He continues to believe it was the right thing to vote no on the Bush tax cuts, despite the fact that the Bush tax cuts helped working families, helped people meet their obligations."

Asked about whether he is looking past Iowa, Romney laughed and said no.

"Actually I figured you guys would talk to me about Mike Huckabee so I took the chance to talk about John McCain," he joked to the two-dozen reporters following him.

But the looming fight with McCain is no laughing matter. Romney has said for months that his lagging national numbers should be ignored because of his lead in both Iowa and New Hampshire. If he loses Iowa to Huckabee, he will be under great pressure not to lose the Granite State as well.

After leaving Bettendorf, Romney flew to Cedar Rapids, where he was introduced by former House Speaker Dennis Hastert in front of a group of about 50 supporters in a hangar at the airport.

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 2, 2008; 4:12 PM ET
Categories:  John McCain , Mitt Romney  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Defining Expectations in N.H. with McCain
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Comments

Senator McCain (R-CA) Supported Social Security Benefits For Illegals Who Used Fraud To Obtain Social Security Cards. "[Sen. McCain] was one of the senators that voted to go ahead and allow Social Security benefits to be paid to people who had used identity fraud to get their Social Security number.... Senator McCain, none of the others who had supported this will recognize or acknowledge any of the disturbing aspects, of the stolen Social Security numbers. Just Imagine that his Social Security number was appropriated and that his identity is stolen. What ever happened to American patriotism and their offering freely an oath of Allegience.

Posted by: infinity555 | January 3, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

What is so wrong with a politician changing his mind? And why is it referred to as wiffle waffling? I would only Beg for Dit Wit Bush to someday change his mind. Oh wait I forgot he doesn't have one to change!

Posted by: jegggo | January 3, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

lspells:

You cited Romney's changing stance on the issues, that's true. If I could give you facts that Ronald Reagan changed his stance on the exact same issues, how is that not at least SOME evidence that Romney is just like Reagan? Please explain your logic.

Posted by: JakeD | January 3, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Mitt Romney thinks that he is fooling everyone. He has been called out on his allowing a $ 50.oo co-pay for abortions in his health plan. People are upset because he is running on a pro-life platform. Now Romney is trying to convince America that the abortion provision in the health care bill was because of a court ruling. Well America the actual court rule says that the state has to provide abortion in their health care plan for Medical necessity only. Under Romney's plan there are No exceptions. Anyone in Ma. can get a taxpayer funded abortion for only 50.00. Romney is a fraud!!

Posted by: Barry2 | January 3, 2008 6:30 AM | Report abuse

Well, it looks like the Huckabee bloggers are out in full force. I wish I could see all your faces when Mitt wins Iows tomorrow.

Posted by: lakeside7 | January 3, 2008 2:09 AM | Report abuse

Transcript of Mitt Romney's final ad before the Iowa caucus:

I don't line up with/am a lifetime member of the NRA
I support/oppose abortion
I support/oppose stem cell research
I support/oppose health insurance mandates
I wish you the best/worst on gay pride day
I support/oppose the anti-tax pledge
I cut/raised taxes/fees
I support/oppose McCain-Kennedy immigration bill

As your President, I will consult my legal team before attacking another nation, and will throw anyone (including my son 'Tagg') overboard and abandon any principle if it will gain me your vote.

I'm Mitt Romney and I both approve and disapprove of this message.

Posted by: lspells | January 2, 2008 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Jake, I like your examples.

I never said that I agreed with everything Reagan did, just that he was a man of integrity and that you knew where he stood on the issues. I cited Romney's changing stance on the issues, not where Reagan stood on the issues, as evidence that Romney is no Reagan.

Posted by: lspells | January 2, 2008 11:10 PM | Report abuse

lspells:

Ronald Reagan once signed a law permitting abortion in California -- as President, Reagan also raised taxes -- not sure about the Gipper's stance on gays in the military. But, there's three similarities. I'll come up with some more later.

Posted by: JakeD | January 2, 2008 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Romeny has spent in excess of $80M in Iowa alone since last January, including more than $17M of his own money. Is he looking "beyond Iowa" because he feels like that $80M has been well spent or because he knows that Iowa is a total loss and that New Hampshire is his only chance for survival? Given the recent attacks on John McCain, I'd say it is the latter and not the former.

Mitt Romney was right when he said, "I am not trying to return to Reagan-Bush." Ronald Reagan was a man of integrity and we always knew where Ronald Reagan stood on the issues.

Mitt Romney can not possibly return my Republican party to the era of Ronald Reagan for he lacks the honesty, vision and fortitude necessary. Time and again he has demonstrated his lack of credentials, be it changing opinions on abortion, gays in the military or tax policy. Mitt Romney may have Reaganesque hair, but that is the only similarity the two share and, to quote the Concord Monitor, he "surely must be stopped."

Posted by: lspells | January 2, 2008 9:48 PM | Report abuse

ATTENTION, READ ALL ABOUT IT!

Mike
Huckabee
is
leading
this
country
up
to
higher
ground.

Mike
Huckabee
is
creating
a
new
American
spirit.

Mike
Huckabee
leaps
two
to
one
over
Mitt
Romney
in
the
latest
Iowa
poll.

Mike
Huckabee
is
the
Rockstar
President
Iowa
voters
are
thrilled
to
support.

Iowa
voters
are
taking
a
ride
on
the
Huck-a-bus
increasing
their
speed
to
Huck-a-boom
speed!

GO MIKE GO!!! GO MIKE GO!!! GO MIKE GO!!!!!

Posted by: vote4mikehuckabee | January 2, 2008 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Actually, John McCain should be viewed as an asset! A very valuable asset considering his popularity!

See, I have two questions. One for Mitt, and one for John!

First, Senator McCain, go back to September 11, 2001. Imagine that Bushie and his Cabinet were being replaced by others(Not Gore Thank God!). Senator McCain, would YOU have rathered have been sitting in a School Room entertaining Children by reading "My Pet Goat", or sitting in the White House as a Director of Security/Military affairs?

I'll leave it for YOU to decide where I would have Prefered YOU to be!

Then Mr. Mitt Romney, of some of the Bone-Headed and Destructive acts and Bills passed over the last ten Years, that might have quite Obviously been shown to be bad Ideas, are there any YOU WOULD REPEAL?

Inquiring little minds want to know! ;~)

Posted by: rat-the | January 2, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Mark Salter unleashed this howitzer:

"Welcome to Mitt Romney's bizarro world, in which everyone is guilty of his sins. He didn't support Ronald Reagan. He didn't support President Bush's tax cuts. He raised taxes in Massachusetts by $700 million. He knows John McCain is gaining on him so he does what any small varmint gun totin', civil rights marching, NRA endorsed fantasy candidate would do: he questions someone else's credibility. New Hampshire is on to you, Mitt. Give it a rest."

Posted by: donttreadonme | January 2, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

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