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Republicans Candidates in Attack Mode as Iowa Poll ApproachesTim King Salem-News.com
They're busy getting paid messages out and slinging mud, the game is on.
(SALEM, Ore.) - The Democratic contenders may be competitive, but Republican Presidential candidates are having a harder time keeping the bar high as they attack and criticize one another in the final hours leading up to the Iowa poll. Of course the mudslinging isn't all the candidates are up to; they're also releasing new advertisements to communicate information they see as vital to their campaigns.
A Des Moines Register final poll showed Senator Barack Obama of Illinois comfortably leading Democrats in Iowa, and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee at the front of the pack on the Republican side.
The "Early States" weighing in before pre-February 5th are Iowa, Wyoming, New Hampshire, Michigan, Nevada, South Carolina, Florida and Maine. Wyoming will select a portion of its delegates at their caucus in January, but will not allocate all of their delegates until later in the year. Iowa, Nevada and Maine award no delegates at this time.
Florida is the big prize on January 29th, with 57 winner-take-all delegates. It is the only winner-take-all state before February 5th.
Senator John McCain of Arizona campaigned in heavy snow in New Hampshire on Tuesday, and he went after former Governor Mitt Romney’s foreign policy credentials in a bold new Web advertisement about the threat of terrorism.
The Internet ad, entitled "Experience," contrasts Mitt Romney and John McCain's experience on the issues of foreign policy and national security. The Web ad will appear on targeted news and information websites in key states.
The release coincided with a TV/university poll showing that he had pulled out ahead of Romney in New Hampshire.
Mitt Romney by all accounts, is putting plenty of effort into grabbing victories in Iowa and New Hampshire. Keeping with the trend, he went after Mike Huckabee for comments he made criticizing President Bush in an Iowa newspaper report published Tuesday.
He also took a few jabs at McCain while announcing the launch a new Web advertisement titled, "Full-Spectrum Conservative." They say the ad highlights Romney's conservative platform to build a stronger America. It also underscores his ambitions to maintain agreement with the policies of President Bush.
"Unlike Senator John McCain, Governor Romney supports the President's tax cuts, opposes the McCain-Feingold bill that limited free speech and opposes any amnesty immigration plans," his campaign stated.
One of Romney's central messages is his clear unity with the administration and decisions of George W. Bush, another is his alliance with what he sees as the truly conservative policies and principles of the Republican party.
He hasn't produced a new Internet advertisement, but Mike Huckabee launched two new 30-second television ads in Iowa Monday titled, "Our Values" and "Tax Cuts Matter."
"Our Values" emphasizes what Huckabee considers his conservative record of leadership as governor of Arkansas and commitment to issues related to life, family and freedom. The second television ad, "Tax Cuts Matter," which highlights his fiscally-conservative record, is airing in Iowa and New Hampshire.
"The purpose of these ads is to highlight the things that truly matter - while underscoring my conservative record of leadership and my vision for America moving forward," Huckabee said.
Addressing Iowans, he said he saw the negativity and hoped people there could see past it, "There are a lot of things being said on television and sent to mailboxes across the Hawkeye state. I urge Iowans to look beyond the rhetoric and seek the truth about my record and optimistic plans for our nation's future. It is critical that we have an American president who understands our values, and has the experience and knowledge to guide us forward."
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani just isn't the kind of guy people in Iowa tend to get excited about. He is lagging in numbers there, ranging between 3rd and 6th place. He sees hope in other areas. "When you get to Florida and the February 5th states, we're ahead in some cases by large percentages and in some case by closer percentages," Giuliani told Fox News. "We believe it's a good strategy and it's going to work."
He has enjoyed a commanding lead in nearly every public poll conducted in the delegate rich states of Florida, California, Illinois, New York and New Jersey.
Giuliani's Strategy Director Brent Seaborn said, "As voting nears in the Republican nomination process, our campaign remains convinced that our strategy we have long had in place is right – bold, innovative and designed to deal with the radically different election calendar."
He acknowledges that many of the beltway insiders seem to remain committed to what he calls the old "Carter/Clinton" approach. They have questioned the adjustments McCain has made in strategic thinking based on the new calendar. "We clearly have a winning plan to secure the nomination in an election cycle unlike any other. History will prove us right," Seaborn added.
Recent polls have shown conflicting results for both the Democratic and Republican races. Insiders say it demonstrates how far from settled the fields remain before the caucuses, on Thursday. That means among other things that Iowa is not a clear indicator of who will next lead this country, though some voters will doubtlessly be swayed by the results.
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