There is a sure sign we are just a few days from the Ames straw poll: Mitt Romney is getting it from all sides. First, he responded to an Iowa mom’s question as to why his sons weren’t in the military by saying they made their own choices and were serving the country by helping elect their dad. This response struck some the wrong way. Several pundits and critics contended that his comment was glib. Spokesman Kevin Madden responded to my inquiry: “The Governor expressed his proud support and respect for those servicemen and women who are bravely volunteering for their country. His sons are not serving in the military, but I don’t believe the American people apply a litmus of family service for those who choose to support the mission of our troops.” We’ll see if Iowans take offense or this is another minor scrape on his way to a victory on Saturday. Romney also took a shot at Rudy Giuliani about giving sanctuary to illegal aliens in NYC. Rudy struck back as Phil reported. Again, Romney’s spokesman defended his candidate saying that Romney “disagrees with the approach that Mayor Giuliani took with regard to encouraging illegal immigration and creating a sanctuary for illegal immigrants in New York City. ” There are two dangers for Romney here: 1) Romney’s image as a positive campaigner who was foreswearing negative attacks gets smudged and 2) one of the issues (most likely the tussle over his abortion views) strikes a cord with Iowans and turns off some straw poll voters. This is after all why we have campaigns– to see how frontrunners fair and how they roll with the punches. Romney is going to win on Saturday; his opponents will do everything they can this week to narrow the margin.
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