The campaign for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney took a blow from the Concord Monitor in New Hampshire shortely before Christmas and another from the New Hampshire Union Leader a few days later.
The Monitor’s Dec. 22nd editorial, entitled “Romney should not be next president,” urged New Hampshire voters to “ask tough questions and see through the baloney. If a candidate is a phony, we assure ourselves and the rest of the world, we’ll know it.”
On Dec. 26, the Union Leader backed up the Monitor and endorsed rival GOP candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. The Leader said after careful consideration of both candidates, Romney “lacks something John McCain has in spades: conviction. Granite Staters want a candidate who will look them in the eye and tell them the truth. John McCain has done that day in and day out, never wavering, never faltering, never pandering.
Despite the hits from the two papers, the latest Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times survey shows the former governor ahead in New Hampshire by a wide margin with 34 percent and McCain trailing him with 21 percent.
Because of his popularity, the Romney campaign is taking the papers’ criticisms in stride. Kevin Madden, a spokesman for Romney, said the Monitor’s “editorial board is regarded as a liberal one on many issues, so it is not surprising that they would criticize Governor Romney for his conservative views and platform,” the Washington Post reported.
While the Romney team is brushing off the Monitor and Leader editorials, it has taken aim at rivals McCain and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
A 30-second TV ad in New Hampshire calls McCain “honorable” but then asks, “is he the right Republican for the future?” The ad goes on to say that McCain supported amnesty for illegal immigrants.
The McCain campaign shot back, saying, “Last Year, Romney Supported ‘Path Toward Citizenship’ for Illegal Immigrants,” CBS News reported.
The two candidates have since been embroiled in a heated debate over immigration legislation.
In Iowa, where Huckabee leads Romney 37 percent to 23 percent, the Romney team released an ad calling out Huckabee’s “1,033 pardons and commutations” as governor and his reduction on methamphetamine punishments. “On crime, the difference is judgment,” the ad says.
“Huckabee told reporters that Romney’s attacks are ‘dishonest’ and ‘desperate,’” the Quad City Times in Davenport, Iowa, reported. “If I believed all that stuff, I wouldn’t even vote for me,” he said.