October 14, 2007


McCain unloads on Romney (Jonathan Martin, 10/14/07, Politico)

In the toughest language used yet by any GOP candidate about another, John McCain today launched a frontal assault on Mitt Romney, using the start of a speech to New Hampshire Republicans to describe the former governor as a political fraud. For the Arizona senator, the remarks amount to an unburdening of months of pent-up contempt for a candidate that he, and his staff, view as illegitimate. [...]

McCain's decision to go public with his barely concealed disdain was prompted by a speech Romney gave yesterday to Nevada Republicans. Seeking to set himself apart from the social moderation of Rudy Giuliani, Romney borrowed a turn of phrase from Howard Dean, saying that "he speaks for the Republican wing of the Republican Party."

Unwilling to let a candidate who once portrayed himself as an apolitical moderate to now cast himself as a holier-than-thou Republican, McCain struck back hard.

"As we all know, when he ran for office in Massachusetts, being a Republican wasn't much of a priority for him,' McCain said of Romney. "In fact, when he ran against Ted Kennedy, he said he didn't want to return to the days of Reagan-Bush."

"I always thought Ronald Reagan was a real Republican."

But McCain wasn't done. Dipping into his campaign's trove of opposition research, the maverick senator alluded to Romney's contribution of $250 to former New Hampshire Democratic Rep. Dick Swett in 1992 and the former governor's backing of Massachusetts senator and Democratic presidential hopeful Paul Tsongas in the Bay State's 1992 primary. Additionally, McCain cited Romney's refusal to support the Contract for America in his 1994 Senate bid and his "embracing the Democratic position on many major issues of the day."

"I don't think he was speaking for Republicans," McCain said of Romney after each of his digs.

"So you'll understand why I'm a little perplexed when Mitt Romney now suggests that he's a better Republican than me, or that he speaks for the Republican wing of the Republican Party."

With Mitt and the Mayor splitting the vote to the Left and with the Right coming back to Maverick, the Senator is poised to stage almost as big an upset here as last time.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 14, 2007 6:03 PM
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