attention Rudy Giuliani has been giving to New Hampshire
doesn't seem to be paying off. The Republican still trails
in polls for the first-in-the-nation primary and also
faces likely defeats in other early-voting states.
Pinning his hopes
on big states that come later in the primary season,
the former New York mayor is struggling to regain momentum
after a series of setbacks. The next month could
provide a severe test for his unorthodox approach to
winning the GOP nomination.
He's not giving
up on New Hampshire yet. He returned Monday, telling an
audience in Durham that he hoped they would give him a boost
''right here in New Hampshire, where you've got one
heck of an important primary coming up.''
spending some of my Christmas holiday here in New Hampshire,
which I really look forward to. Maybe you'll even get a
chance to see me ski,'' Giuliani said to laughter,
before quickly adding, ''No, you won't. We'll be here
and we'll be working really hard to get your vote.''
after weeks of flooding mailboxes here with literature and
airing radio commercials, Giuliani started running some $2.5
million in TV ads to court New Hampshire voters, and
he visited repeatedly over a several-week span.
Despite that effort, polls show him lagging Mitt
Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, even as Arizona
senator John McCain surges.
Given that lack
of progress and to save money for later contests,
Giuliani is scaling back his TV ads somewhat this week in
the state. Aides say clutter on the airwaves during
the holiday season was a factor and that he may boost
his television presence again. He plans to return to
New Hampshire Friday.
''He tried to
press a low taxes and fiscal conservative message here, but
the core of his identity was still what he did on 9/11, and
pocketbook issues have sort of trumped his national
security card,'' said Frank Cohen, a political science
professor at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge,
N.H., explaining Giuliani's woes here.
Hampshire, South Carolina, and other early-voting states
never have figured prominently in Giuliani's strategy.
It calls for securing victories in states that vote
later and promise huge numbers of delegates to next
summer's nominating convention, beginning with Florida on
Giuliani has a
wide lead in that state, and he hopes winning its 57
delegates will give him the delegate-count lead heading into
the bigger-prize states that vote February 5,
including California, New York, and Illinois.
Broadly, the race
for the GOP nomination is in flux, and, at this point
no one candidate is positioned to run the table with
multiple wins in states before Florida.
In Iowa, Mike
Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor who has risen in
recent weeks, has an edge over Romney. In New Hampshire,
Romney leads, but McCain is giving chase while
Giuliani has slipped. Michigan and Nevada are muddles;
Huckabee leads in South Carolina, with four other
candidates tightly bunched behind him.
argue that such a volatile situation -- and Huckabee's
rise to the detriment of Romney -- greatly benefits their
boss. They say it's possible that different candidates
could win the early states, making for a fractured
contest and no one candidate riding a wave of momentum
aides say Giuliani has double-digit leads in four states
in which the winner takes all the delegates: New York, New
Jersey, Connecticut,and Delaware. He also has an
advantage in California, where delegates are divvied
up by congressional districts. Plans call for Giuliani
to start to run TV ads in Florida and some of the February 5
states soon after Christmas.
however, whether losses in the early states, coupled with
recent campaign troubles, could cripple Giuliani before
those later, bigger states vote.
Until recently he
had ridden atop national polls all year and defied
conventional wisdom; the thrice-married backer of abortion
rights and gay rights showed tremendous staying power
in a Republican Party in which conservatives dominate.
seemingly Teflon coating sustained a series of dings this
month, including some that called his character into
question and undercut his contention that he's the
strongest leader in the field.
experiencing a patch of roughness but nothing fatal,'' said
Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster unaligned in the
race. ''Campaigns always get tougher at the end, and
that's more what this is about.''
longtime friend and former police commissioner, Bernard
Kerik, was indicted on federal charges. Then, it was
disclosed that as mayor Giuliani billed security
expenses to obscure city offices while visiting his
current wife as their extramarital affair began. He's also
been facing questions anew about his consulting business,
Giuliani Partners, whose clients include the Persian
Gulf emirate of Qatar.
the unpleasant month but say Giuliani has chosen to
press ahead with his untested strategy rather than change
Thus, he gave a
rare formal speech Saturday in Tampa, Fla., that was
meant not only to put a troublesome stretch behind him but
also to offer his closing argument for the primaries.
In it Giuliani
called for ''leading a revitalized, 50-state Republican
Party into the White House'' -- in line with his national
strategy, unconventional as it is. (Liz Sidoti, AP)