I asked NH GOP Chairman Cullen Fergus a few questions about the state of the race. He began by noting that both McCain and Romney are drawing crowds of several hundred people.What is fueling the McCain boom? "McCain has a deep reservoir of support and respect among Republicans to draw upon - but Rudy's decline and McCain's appeal to Independents have driven his rise." He notes that he will now however have to fight Obama for Independents, a task which would have been easier had Hillary cruised to a win in Iowa. Will the debate Saturday be key? Fergus notes that the debates have been "remarkably news-free all year as candidates avoid making mistakes more than they try to score points." He suspects it won't measurably change the race. What about the local media endorsements for McCain- do they matter? " Yes, the endorsements do add up. The Union Leader has been pounding away (in 1976, in three months they ran 59 pro-Reagan or anti-Ford editorials, and they are doing their darndest to catch up) not just for McCain but against Romney. They are particularly influential with Republican primary voters and I think the Union Leader made a conscious decision to have a greater impact this cycle than they've had in recent primaries."
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