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Romney Latest to See Internal Critique Leaked

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By Chris Cillizza and Michael D. Shear
Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has hair that is too perfect, a flip-flop reputation and a particular antagonism toward France.

That information comes not from an adversary but from a 77-page internal PowerPoint presentation about Romney's strategy obtained by the Boston Globe and published yesterday. Former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani experienced a similar leak last month when his self-critical strategy briefing ended up in the hands of the New York Daily News.

In the Romney document, which his campaign declined to confirm as authentic, advisers confront the challenges that the former governor faces as he seeks the Republican nomination. Among them, the document says, are his newly conservative positions on social issues and his belief in the Mormon faith, which is viewed skeptically by many members of other Christian denominations.

The document notes that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is seen as a war hero but also as an inside-the-Beltway politician, the Globe reported. It sees Giuliani's political strength emanating from his post-Sept. 11, 2001, actions as mayor, but touches on his "personal political liabilities" -- a reference, perhaps, to his nasty and public divorce from his second wife, Donna Hanover.

It also contemplates using antipathy toward France as a campaign tool, suggesting that comparing Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) to that country might earn Romney votes.

Date Set to Fill Ga. House Seat

Mark June 19 on your calendars. That is the day that Gov. Sonny Perdue (R-Ga.) has chosen for the special election to fill the vacancy created when Rep. Charlie Norwood (R) died on Feb. 13.

The two leading Republican candidates to replace him are state senators. Ralph Hudgens is making his second try at the seat after losing to Norwood in a 1994 primary. In that race, Hudgens led on the initial ballot but lost 51 percent to 49 percent to Norwood in a runoff.

Hudgens's primary challenge will come from Jim Whitehead, who is seeking to tie himself to Norwood's legacy.

Several other Republicans are either running or contemplating the race, raising the possibility that no one will claim a majority in the primary. In that case, the two top vote-getters would advance to a July 17 runoff.

Democrats are not expected to seriously contest the northeastern Georgia district, where President Bush won 65 percent of the vote in 2004.


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