THE NOTE: Can She Win?


While he takes aim at his own party in a new ad, the Concord Monitor's Lauren R. Dorgan notices that Romney "is sometimes less precise in articulating his own positions, which may be a deliberate effort to leave room to carve out new positions on the issues that will likely shape the general election." That includes, most significantly, the war in Iraq, which he refuses to say if he thinks was a mistake based on what he knows now, Dorgan writes.

This just in from Sen. John McCain's "resurgence": His longtime pollster, Bill McInturff, left his campaign last week, in part because the campaign only conducted one (yes, one) poll in all of 2007.

This just in from the latest installment of Fred Thompson bashing: Adam Smith uses his St. Petersburg Times column to call out the Thompson doubters. "These guys need get out of the Beltway for a few days and see what's happening on the ground in places like Florida. They're underestimating hunger among Republicans for an alternative to the current field," Smith writes. Even when Thompson was making mistakes, "people gushed with passion and constantly compared him to Ronald Reagan."

Thompson wants to remind us of 1994, The New York Times' Michael Cooper and Michael Luo write in their snapshot of the GOP race. "You're going to start to see us posing the question: what were you fighting for in 1994 when the Republicans took control of Washington?" said Todd Harris, Thompson's communications director. That would be the year Thompson won his Senate seat, Romney lost his run (running as a moderate), and Giuliani was still boasting of endorsements like Mario Cuomo's.

So Giuliani has answered the critics on guns (sort of) -- but he hasn't delivered his last tough speech before his last hostile crowd. More scrutiny of the former mayor's record is emerging.

The Los Angeles Times' Janet Hook writes up Hizzoner's shifting posture on illegal immigration -- including a lawsuit he filed to block the 1996 welfare bill because of what he called "inhumane" treatment of illegal immigrants. "As mayor, Giuliani was the rare Republican who rolled out the welcome mat for legal and illegal immigrants," Hook writes.

And cutting closer to his campaign persona, The Washington Post's Alec MacGillis finds Giuliani only waking up to threats posed by terrorists after 9/11: He blasts Democrats for being in "denial" during the 1990s, but such claims are "undercut by Giuliani's record as mayor and by his public statements about terrorism since the 1990s, which document an evolution in thinking that began with a mind-set similar to the one he criticizes today," MacGillis writes. "Giuliani's rhetoric changed as time went on."

Don't forget this crowd, either: "A coalition of 9/11 families and rescue workers plans to continue efforts to derail former Mayor Rudy Giuliani's bid for President at a midtown fund-raiser today," Jordan Lite reports in the New York Daily News. Said Deputy Fire Chief Jim Riches, the group's leader (and perhaps the single most quoted Giuliani critic): "We intend to Swift-boat Rudy the way they Swift-boated [John] Kerry."

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