Romney: Don’t Count McCain Out Just Yet
The McCain campaign has had a difficult time spinning Sen. John McCain’s recent slide in major national and battleground polls. The best strategy it has been able to come up with seems to be “deny, deny, deny” the accuracy of the survey in question.
But in a McCain campaign conference call with reporters this afternoon, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney may have offered up a better response to questions about McCain’s sagging poll numbers: “Remember where McCain was at this time last year.”
There’s an understandable interest in what polls show, and there is the inevitable sense that a poll is a very good predictor of what might happen.
I remember having succumbed to that sense in the summertime, and in the fall, of last year, concluding that John McCain was almost out of the picture, and that Rudy Giuliani was who we all needed to worry about. As a matter of fact, leading up to my debates – we had quite a few debates, but a number of them — my team said to me, “Look, don’t engage with McCain. Let him say whatever he wants to. You’ve got to engage with Rudy Giuliani, because he and you are the two battling for the lead here.”
Somehow, it didn’t work out like the polls suggested. Rudy Giuliani, who led dramatically, followed by Fred Thompson, and I think I was third at some point, and John McCain was way down the list. John McCain won. He defies expectations…At this stage, I’d say [to] the poll-watchers, look back to September or so of last year, and be careful not to write the same headlines.
Of course, as Romney was saying this — on a call that was meant to puff up McCain’s standing in Romney’s home state of Michigan — the McCain campaign is reportedly preparing to abandon the state to Obama, indicating that the campaign does take these polls quite seriously.
Nevertheless, saying something positive about your candidate’s tenacity has got be a better strategy than challenging the credibility of the nation’s leading pollsters.