DES MOINES, IOWA -- Mitt Romney closed his final day of campaigning in Iowa with his chief Iowan rival Mike Huckabee in mind and with eye on John McCain in New Hampshire.
“It’s going to be important that we get a nominee who can play in each of these states and isn’t a one hit wonder,” Romney said Tuesday—a day after a Des Moines Register poll gave Huckabee a six point advantage over the Governor
Townhall asked Romney if that pitch was made because he was worried he would lose Iowa. “You got to have someone who can win Iowa and New Hampshire, who can appeal to people in the center of the country and the coasts,” Romney said. “I think somebody’s message who has not connected in Iowa, or has not connected in New Hampshire, that would not auger as well for them in a general election.”
On the eve of the Iowa caucus Romney discussed issues he believes Huckabee and McCain are weak on, like taxes and immigration.
At a “house party huddle” in Johnston on Tuesday Romney criticized Huckabee for calling the Bush’s administration’s management of Iraq “arrogant” and joking that President did not read national intelligence reports.
Romney followed up on his attack at a campaign rally on Wednesday by mentioning some people have “made jokes about him [Bush], or made attacks on him, but let’s not forget this: this President has kept us safe these last six years and that’s not easy.” This prompted applause from Romney supporters.
Shortly after the Iowa caucus votes are tallied on Thursday, Romney will jet to New Hampshire to ready himself for the Granite State’s January 8 primary. McCain has enjoyed a recent surge in New Hampshire polls and has been endorsed by several regional newspapers, including the influential Union Leader. Adding even more pressure to Romney, McCain released a hard hitting ad there that questioned Romney’s foreign policy credentials this week.
When asked for reaction about the negative spot at a Wednesday morning press conference Romney unexpectedly attacked McCain on national security--- widely considered to be the Arizona senator’s strongest issue.