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What It Takes

This cartoon by Michael Ramirez overstates the case, of course–that’s what editorial cartoons are for–but it sums up one view, at least, of Fred Thompson’s candidacy:

Someone said a day or two ago–I can’t remember who, or I’d credit him–that there is a common denominator in the failure of Thompson’s campaign and the declining status of Rudy Giuliani’s. That is, both candidates refused to commit themselves to the tedious retail politics of the early contests in New Hampshire and Iowa. Thompson delayed his entry into the race, and Giuliani made little or no effort in those states, even though he was, at one time, doing well in the polls, especially in New Hampshire.
No doubt Thompson and Giuliani both had a theory as to how they could win the nomination despite ignoring the earliest states–Giuliani went on to skip South Carolina and others–and I, for one, thought Giuliani’s approach might well work. But it appears that the traditional pattern of hand-shaking and diner-schmoozing in Iowa and New Hampshire as the foundation of a Presidential campaign isn’t dead yet. Unless Giuliani stages what would now be a miracle comeback, the candidates who are still standing are the ones who invested the time, the work and the money in the early states.
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