Sunday, September 02, 2007

Giuliani Worried by Fred Thompson

Giuliani Worried by Fred Thompson
Sunday, September 2, 2007 7:05 PM

Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson officially joins the presidential race on Thursday, and Rudy Giuliani and his team are watching closely to determine how much of an impact his candidacy will have on Giuliani.
"He's a Southerner, and he's a senator, and that gives him credibility," Barry Wynn, a top Giuliani adviser in South Carolina, tells Newsday. "He's certainly weaker today in terms of the level of enthusiasm of his supporters than he was a month ago ... but I certainly see him as serious competition."
Giuliani currently sits atop every major national poll, and is leading decisively in states like California and Florida. But he still faces deep skepticism from conservatives who drive the nominating process. Those are the same people who are likely to be Thompson supporters, analysts say, and that could mean Thompson won't fade any time soon.
"I was totally dismissive of his chance to get the nomination, and I'm not dismissive anymore," Stu Rothenberg, a Washington political analyst, told Newsday. "He's hung in there."
The worry for Giuliani is that Thompson could prove just as appealing to conservatives on tax cuts and terrorism -- with the added bonus of agreeing with them on social issues like abortion and gun control. It's a theme Thompson's advisers already have suggested they will play up, the importance of nominating a candidate who embodies every part of the party's beliefs.
© 2007 NewsMax. All rights reserved.


The Challenging Outlook For Thompson in New Hampshire
When I want to know what's going on in Granite State politics, one of the first folks I turn to is Andrew Cline of the New Hampshire Union Leader (also an occasional contributor at NRO).
I asked him how New Hampshire Republicans are likely to greet Fred Thompson if, as we're hearing, he annnounces the day after the big debate in the state. Some of his thoughts:
It's unclear exactly how much the decision to announce after the NH debate, and not attend it, will hurt Thompson in NH, but obviously it doesn't help him here. The state GOP is the primary sponsor of the Sept. 5 debate. If he wanted to cozy up to top Republicans here, dismissing the debate was a poor way to make a good impression. If he really intends to make a play for NH, one would expect him to come in a day or so before the debate and schmooze big-time with the big-shots. But he isn't doing that. He's made only one visit to NH so far and if he has any real organization here it isn't getting noticed. Does he have any significant GOP establishment backing here? No. Is he actively courting the activists and organizers who can run an effective insurgent campaign? Not that I've seen. So what's his plan for winning New Hampshire? ...
As far as the general public goes, they are unlikely to care too much about him skipping the debate as long as he quickly mounts a real campaign here and wears out several pairs of shoes courting NH voters. But I see no sign that he's planning to do that.
In the past, the real campaign for NH didn't begin until the fall. So historically, Thompson is entering the race (assuming he enters) at the traditional time. But this campaign got an unusually early start, and he is way behind. Romney is very well organized here, and Giuliani has picked up most if not all of the McCain supporters who bolted earlier this summer. So Thompson has to drop in mid-campaign and pick up pretty much all of the undecideds plus pull supporters from the lower-ranking candidates. That's possible, but he's got to have an organization...
It seems like Thompson will be deploying a south-centric version of the Giuliani strategy, not focusing quite so much on traditional early states like Iowa and New Hampshire as big states like Florida (although Giuliani's been spending some cash in the early states lately). Thompson, however, has to realize that a bad performance in South Carolina would break him. He's doing pretty well there, so far.