Local GOP political consultants discuss Presidential Field by Mitch E. Perry

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The one big time GOP presidential candidate NOT in Washington for the CPAC conference is John McCain….As we reported last night, John McCain is struggling in the polls, 10 months before the Iowa Caucases.  And the chief beneficiary of his troubles has been Rudy Guiliani.


Guiliani, it has been said, is too liberal for Republican Primary voters.  Usually this comment is made by Democrats, or political analysts.  It is something NOT said by Republican officials. 


Last night WMNF spoke with several GOP political consultants about McCain.  Tonight, we ask them about Guiliani.  First, Mark Proctor (roll tape#1 o.q.”  is leadership”)


A new Time magazine poll published today shows Guiliani leading McCain 38 to 24 percent.   A month ago, that same poll had McCain up for 14 points – a  swing of 18 points that the magazine describes as ‘stunning’. 


Tampa GOP consultant April Schiff says Guiliani’s lead at this time shouldn’t be suprising (roll tape#2  o.q.”during that crises”)

But as the campaign picks up speed, it will be interesting to see if Guiliani             can retain its heat.  The former New York Mayor has told conservative audiences that if President, he would select judges who are ‘strict constructionists’ in the mold of Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Chief Justice John Roberts.


 But the political website politico. com  reported this week that  of a survey of 75 judges appointed by Guiliani as New York Mayor, Democrats outnumbered Republicans by a margin of 8 to 1.  


The other Republican Presidential candidate considered to be in the ‘top tier’ is former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.  Romney, is a former Business executive who  uses his ‘saving ‘ the 2002 Winter Olympic games in Salt Lake City as a shining example of his ‘can do it’ experience.  He’s low in the polls now,  but has been successful in hiring many of the top Republican political players in Florida, many of whom worked for Jeb Bush.  GOP consultant Todd Pressman (roll tape# 3 o.q.”gravitating towards him”)


But there are certainly questions in some GOP circles as to how true a conservative Romney is.  While running for the U.S. in 1994 against Ted Kennedy, and sucessfully for Governor 4 years ago in Massachusetts, arguably the most liberal state in the country, Romney’s positions were quite liberal for  a Republican.  He spoke out in support of gay rights, and was pro-choice.


But in the middle of his one and only term as Governor, Romney’s positions changed on those two social issues. And with those changes comes concerns that his turning right was politically advantageous for his run President.  


Political consultant April Schiff (roll tape#4 o.q.”difficult thing to get through”)


For Social conservatives, there is a school of thought that none of these candidates, McCain, Romney, or Guiliani, is truly one of them. 


But with Bill Frist and George Allen not entering the race, the hopes for Christian Conservatives may revolve around former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee or Kansas Senator Sam Brownbeck, neither of whom are considered at this point to be serious contenders.


Conservative columnist Robert Novak earlier this week wrote about a push poll being conducted in Iowa, that indicated that Jim Gilmore, the former Governor of Virginia who is also staking his candidacy as a hard conservative, polled higher than anybody.


The poll was meant to indicate that true conservatives in the Republican Party don’t have a real candidate yet.  Which, according to political consultant Mark Proctor, means one famous politician hanging in the wings might be able to make a comeback (roll tape#5 o.q.” which is kind of interesting”) 

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