January 4th, 2008
10:24 AM ET
6 years ago

Romney ready for Granite State showdown with McCain


Mitt Romney boards his plane to New Hampshire Friday morning after coming in second in the Iowa caucuses.  (Photo Credit: AP) 

PORTSMOUTH, New Hampshire (CNN) - Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, fresh off his stinging loss to Mike Huckabee in the Iowa caucuses, arrived in New Hampshire at 3:30 a.m. this morning to prepare for a hasty five-day battle for the state that could make or break his candidacy.

"I let one guy slip by me, hats off to him," Romney told an early morning rally of supporters at the Portsmouth airport, referring to Huckabee. "We're not going to let that happen in New Hampshire, or anywhere else."

Romney, who spent over $7 million in Iowa and staked much his electoral success on winning the caucuses, is re-tooling for a different kind of battle in New Hampshire, where independents and fiscal conservatives, not evangelicals, are the targets of Republican candidates.

Shortly after Huckabee's victory on Thursday, reporters surrounded Romney press secretary Kevin Madden in the filing center at the Des Moines Sheraton, peppering him with questions on how the campaign will move forward.

Madden described Romney's Iowa performance as "a very competitive finish in the top two" and insisted Romney is the "best candidate to continue past just Iowa" because he can appeal to both fiscal and social conservatives in the rest of the early states.

But Madden made clear that Romney faced a different rival in the Granite State.

"We're going into a position that is going to be a battle with John McCain in New Hampshire," he said.

Madden said New Hampshire provided a "unique opportunity" for what he said is Romney's message of change, and suggested the campaign will attempt to paint chief rival Sen. John McCain as a beltway insider incapable of reforming Washington.

Although Madden denied there would be change in overall campaign strategy or tone, Romney immediately tweaked his rhetoric after his disappointment in Iowa and honed his message against McCain.

"There are some people who are going to try to convince the voters of New Hampshire and other states that all we need to do to change Washington is to have the same people go there who just change chairs," Romney told the airport rally this morning, in a clear reference to the longtime Arizona senator. Romney said that as a Washington outsider, he is better equipped to bring change to Washington.

McCain and Romney are tied for the lead among likely Republican voters in New Hampshire, according to a CNN/WMUR poll released this week.

Romney had chartered a Jet Blue airbus to make the overnight journey to New Hampshire, which holds the nation's first primary on Jan. 8. The front of the plane was packed with Romney staffers and volunteers wearing Romney t-shirts over their dress shirts.

The rear half of the plane was filled with weary photographers and journalists, many of whom had spent the previous week traveling with the campaign by bus and plane around Iowa.

Romney sat in the front of the plane with his family and campaign aides. With his white shirtsleeves rolled up and sporting uncharacteristically tousled hair, Romney seemed a far cry from his normally buttoned-up campaign persona.

Before take-off, he casually chatted and joked with his supporters and thanked them for their support over the plane's P.A. system.

"Let's get going, buckle up, have some food, and we'll be taking all your cameras away from you before getting off the aircraft," he joked.

- CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: John McCain • Mitt Romney • New Hampshire
soundoff (176 Responses)
  1. Ajay

    Romney an openly BUSH Jr. supporter LOST!! Says something about Bush Jr., Bush Jr. Administration and Bush Jr. policies and his standing with American public today.

    Yes the 43rd President Bush Jr. has cause for concern:
    Having cheated in two elections. First in 2000 from Al Gore who later got the Noble Peace Prize (just in case people do not keep up with the news!) through the Supreme Court then through rigging and SWIFT BOATING (it’s a verb: unfairly depicting someone) war decorated veteran John Kerry in 2004!

    With all the anti-Bush Jr. rhetoric that has helped Huckabee must be a DISASTER in the making for Bush Jr. if he is to venture to work for Republican candidates in 2008 election cycle.

    Go Hillary44 08! http://hillaryis44.org/ http://facts.hillaryhub.com/
    For a little national election snapshot: http://uselectionatlas.org/2008.php

    January 4, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  2. Steve Blaine Washington

    January 4, 2008 2:30 pm ET


    I'm in the Army and my daughter was born in the Netherlands when I was stationed there. We have her dutch birth certificate, an English translation of it, and a "Report of US Birth Abroad" from the State Department that all have to be maintained and used together whenever a birth certificate is required. Are you trying to tell me that she isn't a natural born U.S. citizen and couldn't run for president someday?

    I already know the answer but I am just curious to see if you will continue to show your ignorance and post inaccurate information.
    You are right. She is a citizen of U.S. But is not a natural Born citizen that would qualify her to run for President. I have put the Law quoteson this program many times. If you do not be believe the law quotes I gave you and the Constitution look them up youself.

    January 4, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  3. Steve Blaine Washington

    Steve, you're right that the Consitution doesn't define "natural born," but that doesn't mean its definition is implied in the Constitution. Which means a definition in any US law is perfectly legit. It could still be challenged in a lawsuit, as anything can, but I don't think any court, much less the Supreme Court, would even take up the issue because it's already considered settled in a legal sense.

    Think of it this way: How many of the country's first several presidents were born on U.S. soil? Well, none, because it was such a young country at the time. If there hasn't been a change to the law since the 1790s, why wasn't this an issue back then?

    This is not an up-in-the-air issue. It's a settled matter. And this isn't the only part of the Constitution that was left purposely vague specifically so that it could be interpreted later by accompanying laws.


    If you read the whole outline you would have seen reason for inserting the clause natural born in the Constitution and if you would have read the Act in 1790 which contained natural born clause you would understand why it was repealed in 1795.
    I explained all this several time. If you do not believe me go to a library where they have all these laws and look them up. That is what I did.

    January 4, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  4. Jose F.

    Competetive? He lost by well over 10,000 (10^4 or 10 X E4) votes.

    REPUBLICAN CAUCUSES January 03, 2008
    Race Status Candidate Votes % Del* Precincts

    Updated 10:05 p.m. EDT, Jan 3, 2008

    County Results

    Huckabee 39,814 34% 17
    Romney 29,405 25% 12
    Thompson 15,521 13% 3
    McCain 15,248 13% 3
    Paul 11,598 10% 2
    Giuliani 4,013 4% 0
    Hunter 515 1% 0

    January 4, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  5. Dem from MI

    What happened to the hair Mitt?

    January 4, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  6. Ben

    Everybody needs to remember, this primary election is about the number of Delegates you recieve from each state. Not if you come in first place in the first contest.

    Huckabee won last night and recieved 17 delegates from Iowa but Romney also recieved 12 delegates from Iowa coming in 2nd. Wyoming's caucus is tomorrow (Saturday) and Romney has a HUGE lead in Wyoming giving him 12 delegates if he wins in Wyoming. What does this mean? Romney will have 24 Delegates on Saturday and Huckabee will still only have 17. Romney will then be in the lead for the number of delegates needed to win the nomination heading into NH!!!

    This ain't over yet Huckster, Your 15 minutes are up!!

    Romney 2008!!

    January 4, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  7. FleetingThoughts, America

    Hey democrats, did Obama buy victory in Iowa? He spent 2 million more on ads than Romney? They are all doing what they think will get them the nomination.

    I support Romney because Romney kept his promises as an elected official. He did his best to represent his constituency. Though his positions may be different now than earlier, he is a man of integrity and will actually follow through – he knows how to build a team, break down barriers to change, and he knows how to implement projects and bring them to completion. He has positioned himself to run for President and is willing to spend his own money to get out the vote.

    On the other hand, Huckabee didn't tell the truth about raising taxes (he said he would not in is opening address as Governor) yet raised them later. Huckabee has basically positioned himself as the anti-Romney candidate – and uses a religion whisper campaign to promote himself.

    Huckabee vs. Romney comparision
    Huckabee didn't finish his masters degree – Romney finished two
    Huckabee tried to take the furniture – Romney bought his own
    Huckabee never achieved the American Dream – Romney has (This is in part due to Huckabees inability to finish things he starts)
    Huckabee was chubby and started jogging – Romney has always jogged
    Huckabee had 14 ethics charges against him as Governor – Romney has zero
    Huckabee keeps his family off the stage – Romney lets his family participate

    Finally, they are all politicians, however, I think Romney knows enough about business to turn around the American budget – he knows the cost of business and will know how to veto excessive ear marks. He can recognize from a 10Q the success or failure of a business and so can understand effective sanctions against rogue nations. He knows how taxes influence business and could provide Congress some insight on how to change the tax code rather than fire 82,000 IRS employees. Changes to the tax code could be more business friendly, especially for small business. Romney can do it, Huckabee, McCain or Giulianni cannot. I find it interesting that Huckabee supports McCain in NH, McCain supports Huckabee in Iowa, and Guliani supports Huckabee and McCain.

    Why are they all afraid of Romney? Because he would be the better President!

    January 4, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  8. Matt

    To Steve Blaine- why do you care about John McCain's 'natural born' status so much? This was not an issue in 2000 and its not an issue now. You bring up the same comment in every article about McCain. No one cares. I know you support the man and want him to win, that's why your so fixated on it. Don't worry, its a non-issue and he'll do fine without your help.

    January 4, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  9. elaine

    I hope John Edwards wins

    January 4, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  10. Steve Blaine Washington

    The clause was put in the Constitution by the framers of the Constitution for one reason and one reason only. they did not want anyone born outside the USA
    because they did not want anyone that was not natural born from securing command of the militatry. There was no argument of debate on the subject because all the framers of the Constitution agreed on the subject..
    Should the Constitution be amended today amending or deleting the requirement? Yes, I think so, but it would takes quite a few states to ratified and usually this ratification takes years.
    Yes, I spent many many doing this research.

    January 4, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  11. matthew allen

    I think anyone who votes for Mike Huckabee is just plain stupid he is a joke . Mitt Romney is the best canidate on both sides hands down.

    January 4, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |



    That is the ticket!

    January 4, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  13. Don

    I am looking forward to Gov. Romney asking Sen. McCain why he (McCain) is "OK" with the U.S. staying in the Iraq war for 100 years. (According to McCain's own words last evening in New Hampshire) I didn't believe it, just like the astonished audience, until I saw it.


    So McCain is "OK" with us producing 5 generations of U.S. soldiers in order to send to the Iraq war? I do hope Mitt will ask him about that.

    January 4, 2008 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  14. John Hale

    What is so negative about comparing two canidates records on the issues, and saying that we need someone from outside washington in the White House. All of us Evangelicals need to quick being so arrigant. If people would just open their eyes, they would see the Mormons are not a cult and that they are a very Christian organization. Just because they may not have the very same view on the god head as other Christian faiths, doesnt mean they are not Christian. Jesus Christ is at the center of the LDS faith. So lets all grow up, and not let the one issue of Religion keep us from voting for, or against a canitdate.

    January 5, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  15. Dale Davis, Glendora, California

    The latest mantra against Romney is that he is trying to "buy" the election. No, he is trying to serve the country because he is passionate about America. Additionally, NOBODY HAS WORKED HIS BUTT OF MORE THAN MITT. JUST LOOK AT HIS TRACK RECORD OF MEETINGS THIS YEAR. JUST LOOK AT THIS PICTURE. HE IS EARNING EVERY VOTE WITH A TON OF ELBOW GREASE. THE AMERICAN WAY. YOU HAVE EARNED MY VOTE MITT.

    January 5, 2008 02:49 am at 2:49 am |
  16. Ryan

    Iowa's biggest concern was religion, luckily the rest of the country is not that stupid, he'll be the overall winner, huckabee has no idea what he's doing

    January 5, 2008 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  17. A.K.

    I wouldn't vote for Willard Romney for anything. I have a home in Massachusetts and I know the only reason Willard won for governor is that the Democrats put up a
    "Hillary" type candidate for governor, Shannon O'Brien, who was even more irritating and arrogant than Hillary if that is possible.


    The only thing real about Willard Romney is that he is a real phony; he is also a real hypocrite, real liar/exaggerator. He's right up there with the inventor of the Internet, Mr. Albert Gore.

    January 5, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  18. Cameron

    If I were Mitt Romney, I sure would point out tonight that John McCain is willing to make a troop commitment in Iraq for ONE HUNDRED YEARS!!! That blew my mind when he said that the other night.

    January 5, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  19. Mike

    AK, Residents of MA know. We bought a lemon from Mitt's used cars once (no offense towards used car salesman). We wont do it again. I am from Stoneham. MA (Nancy Kerrigan land), and Romney is not only generally not supported, but he is hated, like a saleman who sold you a lemon. That should tell the rest of the nation something. Romney cant get a local endorsement if he bought one. Romney has spent $50M (WSJ) and Huckabee $1.7M nationally. Huckabee kickd his *ss and spent pennies on the dollar. That is not compelling for the GOP chances (Obama spent 40M vs. Hillary's 50M) – much more comparable

    January 5, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  20. matthew allen

    Go Mitt

    January 5, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  21. Fedman161

    I can vote for Romney, Rudy, or Thompson. I could vote for McCain if I have no other choice, despite his clear junk yard dog meanness. But I will not under any circumstances vote for Huckabee. I honestly don't think most of his supporters know his real record. He pardoned more criminals than the previous 3 Arkansas governors combined, including murderers. His record on taxes is poor. His record on illegal aliens is worse. Judicial Watch said he was one of the top 10 most corrupt politicians in the U.S. He has all kinds of ethics problems. He is unelectable.

    January 6, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  22. almanojodo


    January 6, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  23. Joe K. Whiteside


    January 7, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  24. ched

    When I heard Romney claim that he's now a "Change" guy, I had to laugh out loud, since it's only a matter of time before someone points out that he is indeed Mr. Change - as in, changing positions on every issue out there with the wind. Careful, Mitt; they're onto you.

    January 7, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  25. Joe K. Whiteside


    January 7, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
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