Actually both Rudy and Romney are pushing a very similar theme which in both cases has the benefit of being both true and differentiating themselves (and don’t kid yourself everyone is differentiating–Romney didn’t put on those jogging shorts for nothing just as Thompson entered the race). Both Rudy and Romney they are stressing their executive experience and readiness to lead. Part of that is that both these guys have put forward a boat load of specific policy ideas they point to as evidence they are ready to govern. That’s the line Romney’s very capable supporter James Bopp, Jr. pushed (where he overtly differentiated from Thompson’s main challenger for social conservative votes) and that’s what Rudy is doing. Yes, it’s a theme for both independent of what others are doing but that’s the phase of the campaign we are in and that’s why you have do look at the ads not only in terms of the candidate who runs them but in terms of what it gains them in competition against the others. (Thompson is doing it too –stressing his Republican bona fides — which he thinks gives him a leg up on the crowd. It will either work or not. ) I’m suspecting that phase 2 of this for Rudy is to start differentiating from Romney on taxes, crime and spending records. (How many times are we going to hear Romney raised $500M in “fees”?) There’s nothing unusual or odd about this –it’s exactly how the game is played.
On an unrelated note the $1M for Huckabee is just plain awful which will delight both Thompson and Romney who don’t need him nipping at their heels. If Huckabee were strategically savvy he’d just camp out in Iowa and stay there. If he gets a finish in the top 3 he’ll be in the mix but if not (and with no money) it’ll be time to figure out who to endorse.
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