For Candidate Romney, This Dog Might Not Hunt

By Michael D. Shear
Friday, April 6, 2007

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R) is taking some heat for not packing it.

Campaigning in New Hampshire this week, the candidate for the Republican presidential nomination told an audience that he is a "lifelong hunter," according to the Associated Press. "I've been a hunter pretty much all my life," the news service reported.

But the campaign now acknowledges that the former governor has been hunting twice in his life -- once when he was young and lived on a ranch in Idaho, and more recently on a quail-hunting trip in Georgia with GOP donors.

"I wouldn't describe the governor as an avid hunter," spokesman Kevin Madden said. "I don't think if we were sitting around the hunting lodge, he would have a lot of stories to tell about big game."

But Madden insists whether or not his candidate hunts is beside the point. Romney is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment protections for gun ownership, is a "big supporter" of sportsmen and has a "good record" on conservation issues that hunters care about, Madden said.

So when did the governor become a member 0f the National Rifle Association?

"Last year," Madden said. Romney wants to make clear his commitments to the issue, Madden said. He can now "point to the membership in the NRA."

Giuliani to Leave Firm

Former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani said Tuesday that he plans to leave the security consulting firm he founded six years ago to concentrate fully on running for president.

Speaking to reporters as he campaigned in South Carolina, Giuliani said he plans to part ways with the firm but did not give a specific timetable. Giuliani formed the partnership after he left office in 2002. The company advises private clients and others on homeland security and corporate governance.

Since Giuliani became a candidate for president, his firm and its ties to a variety of business clients have become something of a campaign issue. Last month, the firm announced it was selling its investment banking arm to an Australian company.

-- Michael D. Shear

Democrats and Debates

The Democratic National Committee sought yesterday to quell the growing tempest over the scheduling of debates for the party's presidential contenders, announcing it would sanction a debate each month between July and December. But the "sanctioned" events won't include an event being aired by Fox News in September.

"I'm pleased the DNC can help play a role in facilitating such an important dialogue with our candidates," DNC Chairman Howard Dean said in a statement. "Given our strong, dynamic and diverse field of Democratic candidates and the great enthusiasm voters already have expressed, we can expect a lively, thoughtful discussion of the issues."

The DNC said specific cities and media sponsors still had to be worked out, but the sites of the four first caucuses and primaries -- Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada -- are likely locations to host debates.

Several leading candidates had expressed concern that the multitude of debate requests would affect their campaigning and fundraising, and had requested that party leaders intervene to control the number of forums.

Many Democrats are also alarmed by an agreement by the Congressional Black Caucus to hold a September debate in Detroit with the Fox News Channel, which is seen as having a conservative tilt. DNC officials said yesterday that the debate would not be among those sanctioned by the party. Fox officials said their event will go forward as planned.

-- Zachary A. Goldfarb

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