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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Jesus Loves Rudy?

Here's some news that's not really news -- John McCain is running for president. We can finally stop all the speculation.


Setting aside any doubt, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona announced Wednesday he would seek the presidential nomination.

McCain, who had a presidential exploratory committee, made the declaration on the "Late Show with David Letterman," taped earlier Wednesday.

"We are going to formally announce it in early April," John Weaver, a top adviser to McCain, told CNN.

Weaver said the time and location will be announced at a later date.

McCain, a top-tier candidate, has been a staunch supporter of Bush's deployment of 21,500 additional combat troops to Iraq.

Also on Wednesday, Tom Ridge endorsed McCain for the nomination. Ridge is a former governor of Pennsylvania and also is the former head of the Department of Homeland Security.

In related news, bears crap in the woods. The Tom Ridge story is interesting, though -- there's already talk of a McCain/Ridge ticket.

Of course, that's getting way ahead of news -- McCain may never get that far. A few days ago (Feb. 27), Dick Morris wrote an op-ed, titled McCain's Campaign Collapses, where he claims that McCain's machine crashed before it even got off the ground.

The John McCain candidacy, launched amid much hope, fanfare, and high expectations, may be dying before our eyes.

Even worse, it may go out with a whimper instead of a bang.

It may not end in an Armageddon style primary defeat, but just dry up from lack of support, money, or interest.

Throughout all of 2006, McCain sat atop the polls right next to Rudy Giuliani. In the Fox News survey of December, 2006, he was getting 27 percent of the Republican primary vote to Rudy's 31 percent. But, after Giuliani announced that he was running, the Arizona senator fell to 24 percent while Rudy soared into the stratosphere at 41 percent of the primary voters. But even when McCain was polling well, he wasn't raising the money he needs for this campaign.

As a former fundraiser, I see a big problem with McCain's effort on that front -- he has a mere $500,000 cash on hand. His biggest obstacle, Rudy Giuliani, plans to spend $100 million, according to strategy papers obtained by the New York Daily News. That's one helluva shortfall.

One thing that's catching me completely by surprise is that Giuliani's doing well with evangelicals. I would never have guessed that.


Why is Giuliani sprinting ahead? Here's a surprise -- evangelicals.

Last month, Giuliani and McCain were tied among evangelical Republicans -- 28 percent for Giuliani, 31 percent for McCain. This month, Giuliani has surged into the lead -- 44 percent to 19 percent.

Doesn't Giuliani favor abortion rights and same-sex unions and gun control? Yes -- and no.

"I am pro-choice," Giuliani told CNN's Larry King, "but I am also, as you know, always have been, against abortion."

Spoken like any pro-choice democrat. Why this is good enough for the 'values voters?' Y'got me. Maybe the right was so shaken by the midterms that they're adopting democratic voters' mindset from 2004 -- electability over purity. Giuliani's the more democrat-like (at least, in reputation), so maybe they think he stands the better chance.

And look at their field. If you want a solid religious right guy, you're stuck with Sam Brownback, who has no chance at all, or Tom Tancredo, who's certifiable and has no chance at all. It's a choice between 'sucks' and 'sucks more.' McCain's all over the place, trying to be all things to all people, and as a result seems to have no real position on anything. Mitt Romney's no better; pro-choice and gay tolerant in the past, he's now trying to cast himself somewhere to the right of Pat Robertson. No one's buying it. Without any genuine religious nuts on the ballot, they may just go for the guy they think is most likely to win.

I'm willing to rethink my earlier assessment -- maybe the nuts aren't going to throw Rudy under the bus. But, then again, it wouldn't surprise me any if they did.


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