- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 5, 2008

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Mitt Romney, who spent $20 million in an effort to win Iowa but finished a distant second in the Republican field, faces a do-or-die battle in New Hampshire, where Sen. John McCain is poised to reignite his campaign.

The former Massachusetts governor flew into the state overnight, arriving at 2 a.m., and all but disappeared for the entire day. Meanwhile, Mike Huckabee, who won the Iowa caucuses after being outspent 20 to 1 by Mr. Romney, swooped into the New Hampshire like a rock star, playing bass guitar with a local band, Mama Kicks, during a campaign event that featured actor Chuck Norris.

“We had a great time in Iowa,” the former Arkansas governor told hundreds of supporters gathered in the gymnasium of New England College in Henniker. “Last night when we left Iowa, I left very grateful for the wonderful people of that state who proved that money in politics isn’t as important as message in politics. … They proved they were not for sale.”

But Mr. Romney, who in the latest state poll has retaken the lead over Mr. McCain, said New Hampshire will not be another Iowa.

“It will be a different race here,” he told local supporters who greeted him at Portsmouth’s airport early yesterday. “I let one guy slip by me, hats off to him, he did a nice job. We’re not going to let that happen here in New Hampshire.”

Mr. Romney is now shifting his focus from Mr. Huckabee — who runs a distant fourth in state polls — to Mr. McCain. The Arizona senator has spent months working the state, wooing independents and locking down the Republican base that gave him a 19-point victory in 2000 over then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush.

Mr. McCain is targeting Mr. Romney, as both need to take New Hampshire to give themselves a chance to win two of the first three nomination contests — a harbinger of the party’s winner since 1980.

Speaking yesterday, Mr. McCain chided Mr. Romney for running a negative campaign.

“We’re ending up on a real strong positive note,” he said, even as he went on to call Mr. Romney inauthentic by declaring: “I have not changed my position on every major issue every couple of years.”

Mr. Romney already had sniped at Mr. McCain, saying upon his arrival: “There’s no way that Senator McCain is going to be able to come to New Hampshire and say he’s the candidate that represents change, will change Washington. He is Washington.”

Lost in the tumult of Iowa and New Hampshire was former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who poured $3 million into ads in New Hampshire only to see his standing drop. The ex-mayor campaigned in the state yesterday, but is focusing on Florida, which holds its primary Jan. 29, and more than 20 states that hold their contests Feb. 5.

Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, who finished in a near tie for third place with Mr. McCain in Iowa, flew home to the Washington suburbs rather than to New England. He is polling at just 2 percent here, and is setting his sights on South Carolina, which holds its primary Jan. 19.

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