December 7, 2007


McCain's New Hampshire Glimmer: Winner of 2000 Primary
Regains Strength Amid Opponents' Troubles (JUNE KRONHOLZ, December 7, 2007, Wall Street Journal)

Now, Mr. McCain's chief rivals are running into turbulence. Mitt Romney has been overtaken in the polls in Iowa by Mike Huckabee, raising broader concerns about Mr. Romney's viability among the evangelical base. (Please see related article on Page A6.) Rudy Giuliani faces new questions about his ethics as mayor. Fred Thompson continues to be dogged by doubts about his energy for the fight.

All of that may be prompting Republicans to give Mr. McCain a second look -- particularly in New Hampshire. He recently won the endorsement of the state's largest newspaper. And on a weeklong campaign swing this week, he is drawing capacity crowds at the diners and townhall meetings where much of state's campaigning takes place.

"Welcome home," Vietnam veteran Chris Lussier shouted to big applause at the Union Street Grill in Milford. The reference, he said, was to the senator's years as a war prisoner. But it could also have been about Mr. McCain's return to the state where his victory in the 2000 primary briefly stalled George W. Bush's drive to the nomination and positioned Mr. McCain as the national front-runner at the outset of the 2008 campaign.

The Arizona senator's message isn't much different than it was eight years ago -- strong national defense and fiscal conservatism, which have earned him a reliable core following. But coupled with his dramatic personal story, that message seems to be getting some new attention as voter disenchantment with Washington grows.

Perhaps only a race this predictable could have confused the punditocracy so thoroughly.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 7, 2007 11:26 AM
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