State House News Service
Monday, February 4, 2008
McCain rallies forces at Fanueil Hall,
Romney camp touts presidential bid
By Kyle Cheney and Catherine Williams
Bay State supporters of
Sen. John McCain described him Monday as more electable than Gov. Mitt Romney
and better able to attract moderate and Democratic voters, while prominent
Romney supporters said he saved the Corner Office from being lost to the
Democrats in 2002 and alleged his critics are sour over patronage politics.
As McCain took to Romney’s turf, delivering a stump speech in Faneuil Hall, the
Romney campaign tapped local GOP leaders in an effort puncture the air of
inevitability that has surrounded the Arizona Republican’s campaign since his
victory in the Florida primary last Tuesday.
“Perhaps the mainstream media would like us to think that John McCain is
inevitable and I’m sure that he would like us to think that he is inevitable.
But it’s really the people who get to vote,” said former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey,
who is leading the ex-governor’s Massachusetts campaign.
“It’s not politicians who endorse people. It’s actually the people who get to
choose who is the next president of the United States. I think that when they
look at McCain’s record and when they look at all of the experience and skills
that Mitt Romney presents, they’re going to choose Mitt Romney.”
The morning events showcased the split among Massachusetts Republicans. Romney
supporters attributed the divide to the former governor’s eschewing of patronage
and backroom deal-making.
“We have a lot of people here in Massachusetts that didn’t like the fact that
Mitt Romney did things a little differently as governor of Massachusetts than
some of his Republican predecessors,” Sen. Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth) at
Romney’s North End headquarters this morning. “Under [former governor Bill]
Weld, [former governor Paul] Cellucci especially, projects were doled out based
on political considerations. Romney didn’t play those games and a lot of
legislators didn’t like that. Same thing with appointments. He didn’t trade jobs
Barbara Anderson, head of Citizens for Limited Taxation, said
Romney’s local enemies were bitter about not getting any favors from the
“You have the people who didn’t get what they wanted from Mitt Romney – didn’t
get the lieutenant governor nomination, didn’t get their lieutenant governor as
the only candidate running for the Republican nomination so she can lose and
give us the Democrat earlier than we got him,” she said. “You’re seeing the
Republican pettiness on the side of McCain, which is a perfect fit, because if
there’s ever been anyone pettier than McCain, I haven’t met him in politics.”
Anderson, an independent who said she was sick of the state GOP’s intraparty
squabbling, added that Romney deserved support from Massachusetts Republicans
merely for his efforts to get them elected.
“He tried everything he could to get Republicans elected, which is one reason
Democrats don’t like him,” she said. “They took that personally, but that’s what
he was supposed to do. No one’s giving him any credit for that. Cellucci didn’t
do it. Swift didn’t do it. But Mitt was out there actually trying to elect
Republicans in a state where it wasn’t possible.”
Romney push to elect Republicans to the House and Senate in 2004, half way
through his four-year term, but the effort failed, with Democrats gaining seats
that year in the nation’s most lopsided Legislature.
Although Romney backers insisted that a hard look at his record would lead
Republicans to vote for him, several key local Republicans, including Senate
Minority Leader Richard Tisei and former governor Jane Swift, looked at the same
record and drew different conclusions.
Cellucci, a Rudy Giuliani backer who joined the McCain team when the New York
mayor dropped out of the race last week, said McCain’s across-the-aisle appeal
would get him elected and keep the Republicans in power.
“We have to have a nominee who can bring in those Independents and Democratic
votes,” he said. “John McCain has a track record of doing that. It’s the only
way we’re going to win.”
Sen. Mike Knapik echoed that view.
“I don’t think Romney could attract the centrists, the moderates and the
independents,” he said.
McCain is popular among independents voters, who make up 50.3 percent of the
Massachusetts electorate. His moderate views on immigration, campaign finance
reform and global warming have endeared him to moderates and drawn the fury of
the party’s base, which has been reluctant to get enthusiastically behind him. A
win for him here, the fourth-largest delegate-holding state participating in
Super Tuesday, would embarrass Romney, who headed Massachusetts from 2003 until
2007 and plans to spend Tuesday night in Boston watching the results roll in.
Former Treasurer Joseph Malone, who also shifted to McCain from the Giuliani
camp, told the News Service McCain brings “credibility” because of his military
record and Congressional experience.
“Mitt Romney is not of the same caliber or experience as Sen. McCain,” said
Malone. “He was a fine governor but this is a step up the ladder. He may make a
terrific president someday down the road, but right now John McCain is the man
for the times.”
Swift, who was elbowed out as the GOP standard-bearer in 2002 by Romney, was an
early backer of McCain, despite policy differences.
“My only reservation is that Sen. McCain is a little too conservative for me,”
said Swift, who has backed McCain since February 2007. “But he has been a
committed conservative, in certain ways, on the fiscal issues where we have lost
Swift said McCain’s cross-party appeal, painted as a liability by the Romney
campaign, made him viable in the Massachusetts primary.
In his morning speech, McCain reflected that optimism.
“We have a very good shot at carrying the state of Massachusetts,” he said.
Romney supporters questioned whether the support for McCain from local officials
was genuine, considering many of them backed Giuliani first.
“Senator McCain was Jane Swift’s first choice but Senator McCain was not Senator
Tisei’s first choice,” House Minority Leader Bradley Jones told the News
Service. “I would say this, that there are 24 Republican legislators and 20 of
them support Governor Romney. “If you were a starting pitcher and you went 20
and four, most people would think that you were doing pretty well.”
Jones added that if it weren’t for Romney, Swift would have been crushed in the
2002 gubernatorial election.
“I would say that had it not been for Mitt Romney coming back and running for
governor in 2002, Jane Swift probably would have gotten beaten like a rented
mule by [Democratic nominee] Shannon O’Brien,” he said.
Asked for Romney’s chances in Tuesday’s vote, Healey took a pass and indicated
that Romney may forge ahead regardless of the results.
“John McCain took this state eight years ago. He has always had a strong base of
support here,” she said. “It is a state where independents can vote in the
primary. I won’t rule out any possible outcome. But I can tell you that it won’t
have any impact on our strategy moving forward, whether we win the state or come
in in a close second. We’re going to be moving forward, collecting every
delegate we can and fighting in each state.”
One undecided Republican voter, Paul Black of Hingham, told the News Service he
attended McCain’s rally to see the Arizona leader up close.
“I think the Republican Party needs a shake-up,” said Black.
According to a primary-eve poll, Barack Obama has a slight edge over Hillary
Clinton among Massachusetts Democrats, and Romney holds a 13-point lead in his
home state over closest McCain among Republicans here. Obama's two-point lead
reflects his months-long erosion of Clinton's dominance in the state and falls
well within the Suffolk University/7NEWS survey's 4.9 percent error margin. A
full 27 percent of Democrats and 24 percent of Republicans said they might
change their minds before the primary. Romney commanded 50 percent of the GOP
with McCain registering 37 percent, Mike Huckabee 4 percent, and Ron Paul 3
percent, with 6 percent undecided.
The MetroWest Daily News
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
On Super Tuesday eve,
McCain rallies in Romney's home state
By Lindsey Parietti
Presidential candidate John McCain ventured into Mitt Romney
territory Monday, holding a rally at Faneuil Hall and praising the New England
Patriots the day before the Massachusetts primary.
“I understand the advantage that Gov. Romney has here, but we’ll be fighting for
every state,” McCain said....
An hour after the McCain event, Kerry Healey, lieutenant governor under Romney,
rallied conservative supporters, including House Minority Leader Brad Jones,
R-North Reading; Barbara Anderson, executive director of the Citizens
for Limited Taxation; and Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family
Institute, at the former governor’s downtown headquarters.
“It’s quite disturbing that once John McCain came here, the Patriots didn’t seem
to do so well,” Healey joked, when asked if McCain’s visit was intended to get
under Romney’s skin.
Healey would not say whether Romney hopes independent voters will pick up
Democratic ballots instead of throwing themselves behind McCain as they did in
“John McCain took this state eight years ago, and he has always had a strong
base of support here,” Healey said after the press conference.
“It is a state where independents can vote in the primary, so I won’t rule out
any possible outcome. But I can tell you it won’t have any impact on our
strategy moving forward whether we win the state or come in a close second.”
Anderson said independents like her who vote based on economic issues and
who want “competence and grown-upness” in the White House will go for Romney.
Cellucci predicted unenrolled voters, who make up 50 percent of the
Massachusetts electorate, would turn out for McCain.
“Obviously if Sen. McCain does well here, he’s going to be doing well around the
country,” Cellucci said. “I think he’s going to win a lot of states (Tuesday) …
and Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney will have some decisions to make come Feb. 6.”
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Independents May Hold Sway In Mass.
By Steve Leblanc
Boston — Bluest of blue Massachusetts may seem like the
ultimate Democratic stronghold, but the single largest group of voters here —
slightly more than half of the electorate — are not enrolled in any party.
Those independent voters, who can vote in either the Democratic or Republican
primary today, could decide if Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama wins the
Democratic nod, and whether hometown son Mitt Romney fends off a late challenge
from John McCain in the GOP contest.
Independent voters in Massachusetts make up 50.3 percent of the state's 4
million voters. Registered Democrats account for 36.8 percent and Republicans
make up 12.1 percent. Smaller parties make up less than 1 percent.
While independent voters historically do not participate in large numbers in
primaries, the closeness of the races and intense interest could draw more than
usual to the polls, observers said.
McCain, who is hoping for an upset win on Romney's home turf, has benefited from
support by independent voters, and during a Boston rally Monday stressed his
ability to stretch beyond the core conservative base of the Republican Party.
“I will reach across the aisle to the Democrats and work together for the good
of this country,” McCain said. “That's what you want us to do, is work for the
good of this country. You are tired of the gridlock. You are tired of the
Romney, who has been appealing to the Republican base of social and economic
conservatives, is still a draw for independent voters, his backers said.
Massachusetts anti-tax activist and Romney supporter
said the former Massachusetts governor should appeal to unenrolled voters like
Anderson said she took an Internet test that allows voters to check off which
issues are important to them and see which candidates most closely reflect
those. At first Rudy Giuliani's name popped up, until Anderson, a self-described
libertarian, ranked her issues by importance.
“To me the issues are taxes, because of what taxes fund which is bigger
government, and illegal immigration, and competence and grown-upness in the
office of the presidency,” said Anderson, “So as an independent, my choice was
On the Democratic side, Clinton's Massachusetts campaign director Mark Daley
said the New York senator isn't ceding independent voters to Obama.
He said the campaign has been reaching out to unenrolled voters with phone calls
and door-to-door canvassing. He said Clinton has the experience to make headway
on those issues most important to independent voters.
“A lot of independents are focusing on the hardships of the economy and the
foreclosure crisis and concerns about our troops in Iraq,” Daley said. “We want
them to ask which candidate is best prepared to lead the country on day one.”
Obama spokesman Reid Cherlin said the Illinois senator has succeeded in wooing
independents in the early voting states — and hopes to repeat that success in
“Independents are very solutions oriented. They are sick of the partisanship.
They are very opposed to the war in Iraq,” Cherlin said. “Sen. Obama has shown
that he has an appeal to all segments of the independents, the Democratic base
and some Republicans.”
A big turnout of independent voters on Tuesday could give a boost to McCain and
Obama, according to Paul Watanabe, a professor of political science at the
University of Massachusetts-Boston.
“Those independents who vote on the Republican side, that would be good news for
John McCain. He may get the bulk of his support from independents,” Watanabe
said. That, however, might not be enough to lift McCain over Romney, he said.
On the Democratic side, unenrolled voters may make the difference in a very
tight Massachusetts contest.
“If there is a big independent turnout, I don't think it will break
overwhelmingly for one candidate, but most of the conventional wisdom is that it
will help Obama,” he said.
A Suffolk University/WHDH-TV telephone poll of 400 likely Republican voters and
400 likely Democratic voters conducted between Feb. 1 to Feb. 3 found the
Democratic race nearly dead even with 46 percent backing Obama and 44 percent
backing Clinton — a statistical tie.
On the Republican side, Romney held a lead with 50 percent compared to 37
percent for McCain, with Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul in single numbers. The poll
had a margin of error of 4.9 percent.
On Monday, three of the top four candidates were in Massachusetts stumping for
Clinton drummed up support at a rally at Clark University in Worcester, while
Obama planned an evening event at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston with
U.S. Sens. Edward Kennedy, John Kerry and Gov. Deval Patrick.
McCain, who won the GOP presidential primary in Massachusetts eight years ago,
held a morning campaign rally at Boston's Faneuil Hall. Romney planned to return
to Massachusetts Tuesday afternoon to vote in Belmont and watch returns in
Massachusetts state Secretary William Galvin predicted a heavy turnout in both
Democratic and Republican primaries, with more than 30 percent of the electorate
showing up at the polls — a number he said could climb even higher.
He said most of those independent voters will probably cast ballots in the
“I think they are more likely to break to the Democratic side, because most
independent voters in Massachusetts have historically Democratic roots,” he
Polls across the state are open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.