Romney vs. Dole - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Romney vs. Dole

The Romney and McCain camps have spent much of the run-up to Super Tuesday issuing dueling statements — about Bob Dole.

The former Senate majority leader and 1996 Republican presidential nominee has written a letter to Rush Limbaugh defending John McCain’s conservative and Republican credentials. Dole even included a chart showing that McCain supported President Reagan and the first President Bush about as often as Jesse Helms did. (Not a bad strategy, because it was during the 1980s through the mid-1990s when McCain’s voting record was at its most conservative.)

Mitt Romney told Fox & Friends that Dole was “the last person I’d want writing a letter for me,” drawing comparisons between Dole winning the GOP nomination like it was a gold watch at the end of a long career to McCain’s march toward the nomination. McCain fired back with a statement calling Romney’s comments “disgraceful,” calling into question Romney’s own Republican credentials, and praising Dole as a war hero who did much to build the Republican Party.

McCain definitely made a strong argument, but it’s hard to say whether this will have any impact. Republicans who remember Dole’s listless 1996 campaign — and Newt Gingrich’s jibe against Dole’s record as the “tax collector for the welfare state” — may be moved by Romney’s attack. Others may be turned off by criticism of a party elder statesman of Dole’s stature.

UPDATE: The Romney campaign is emphasizing that Mitt called Dole “an American hero, another terrific guy” in an interview with Laura Ingraham. But Romney didn’t back off from his contention that this makes McCain look a little like the Bob Dole of 2008.

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