Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Who's more like 'Hillary?' Giuliani & Romney point at each other

The "insult" of the day for Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani seems to be to say the other guy is just like Democratic contender Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Today on MSNBC's Morning Joe, Giuliani had this to say about Romney: "He really is in a big glass house here and he's the one who more clearly had positions, at least at one time -– in fact, he's had every position Hillary has had, he's had every position that everyone has had."

Leaving no shot unanswered, the Romney campaign has again called attention to its claim that Giuliani and Clinton "share liberal values." Romney, the campaign reports, said this about Giuliani during an appearance this morning on Fox News Radio's Brian And The Judge show:

"I think he's found himself having to stand up and explain why it is that we ought to make him the nominee when he's very much like Hillary Clinton. He's pro-choice like Hillary Clinton. He's pro-gay civil union like Hillary Clinton. He's pro-sanctuary cities like she is."

As we noted earlier, after a brief respite for Thanksgiving the campaign turned decidedly testy over the weekend. Looks like that trend is continuing.

Romney Ad on Illegal Immigration

TITLE: "Take Charge."

LENGTH: 30 seconds.

AIRING: Iowa and New Hampshire.

SCRIPT: Announcer: "Illegal immigration. We need smart, tough solutions, not just talk. What will it take to fix it? Technology, new ideas, guts, values, Mitt Romney. He said no to driver's licenses for illegals, no to in-state tuition, fought for English in the classroom. The only candidate with a proven record of fixing the big problems. From day one, Mitt Romney will do what he does best — take charge, demand results, no excuses."

Romney: "I'm Mitt Romney and I approve this message."

KEY IMAGES: Quick cuts of Romney taking an oath of office, signing legislation, speaking to the Legislature, and a shot of a hand rolling up a shirt sleeve, suggesting that work is getting done.

ANALYSIS: Immigration is a core issue with the most loyal Republican voters. Romney is seeking to distinguish himself from his top three Republican presidential rivals in Iowa and New Hampshire — former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Sen. John McCain of Arizona. Huckabee has been criticized for supporting some benefits for children of illegal immigrants, including allowing their children to be eligible to apply for college scholarships. Romney has criticized Giuliani for reissuing an executive order from previous New York Mayor Ed Koch that gave illegal immigrants some protections against arrest. McCain supported efforts in the Senate this year to overhaul immigration laws by increasing border security and creating a path toward citizenship for many illegal immigrants.

Romney has said, as early as 2003, that he opposed driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. He vetoed bilingual education measures while he was Massachusetts governor, and he supported a voter initiative to teach public school children primarily in English. Lately, he has called for an end to in-state tuition benefits for the children of illegal immigrants.

Romney has been criticizing each of his main rivals on the immigration issue. With this ad, he attempts to boost his own credentials without directly mentioning his opponents. A recent New York Times /CBS News poll listed illegal immigration as the issue Republicans in Iowa and New Hampshire said they would most like the presidential candidates to discuss. The issue, however, could backfire in a state such as Florida and in others with large Hispanic populations and could make it hard for him to attract such voters in a general election campaign, should he win the nomination.

Analysis by Associated Press Writer Jim Kuhnhenn.