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June 14, 2007

It's Over: McCain Launches Last-Ditch Attack On Front-Runner Second-Placer Fourth-Place Mitt Romney

I'm not sure how on earth this is supposed to work -- if he destroys Romney, Romeny's more social-con consitutency moves to... McCain? Why wouldn't they go to the more reliably conservative Thompson?

Wouldn't it make more sense to try to knock out the other maybe-too-liberal-for-the-Republican-Party candidate actually leading in the polls?

Thomas Edsall officially starts the McCain Doomsday Clock a-tickin' here.

The McCain campaign's abrupt decision to lash out at Mitt Romney as a flip-flopper on abortion is a last ditch bid to revive a candidate whose poll numbers and financial resources are dwindling.

The McCain camp recognizes that its original strategy of establishing front-runner status and claiming the honored position of "next in line" is now in tatters -- leaving McCain with nothing but highly unpleasant choices.

He and his strategists have decided to risk everything on a high-visibility, direct assault on Romney, praying that it will draw enough press attention to wound the former Massachusetts governor.

In a series of three email replies, the Romney campaign sought to rebut McCain. "Good afternoon, folks -- Lovely day to rapidly respond to desperate, faltering campaigns, isn't it?" one stated. But the substance of the McCain-Romney altercation is far less important than what the dispute says about the state of McCain's operation.

McCain and his backers have watched in the past week as he dropped from number two to number three in the polls....

The net result has been the marginalization of McCain. Marginal candidates cannot raise money, making it much more difficult for McCain to compete in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, the three early primary states that can make or break campaigns.

That's actually why he's targetting Romney -- Romney leads in Iowa and New Hampshire, despite being barely first-tier in national polling. McCain doesn't have the money to challenge Giuliani nationally, but Iowa and New Hampshire are cheap places in which to campaign.

So maybe it makes some sense. But I'm not sure if there's any good options left for McCain. Romney trails in the polls but leads in the still-important first-to-vote states of Iowa and NH. Giuliani leads nationally. Fred! either ties for the national lead or else is close behind, despite not officially declaring yet.

Which leaves McCain with... nothing at all.

So... who gets McCain's 10 or 12 percent support? If the majority of that goes to Giuliani, he actually might win this thing, having that huge pile of votes waiting for him in the liberal big states voting on MegaTuesday.

Via HotAir.

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posted by Ace at 01:21 AM

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