Friday, September 7, 2007

The Weekly Standard's review of McCain's UNH debate performance from Continetti: "McCain makes a comeback"

Senator McCain received an extremely positive review from The Weekly Standard's Matt Continetti, when it came to his performance at the UNH debate on September 5. Here's the full text of Continetti's piece:

A New Race: McCain makes a comeback and Thompson jumps in.
by Matthew Continetti

09/06/2007 12:00:00 AM

"SINCE MAY, the race for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination has been characterized by an unusual dynamic. At a time when national security issues are the foremost concern of GOP primary voters, a war hero with substantial experience defending the use of American power in Iraq and beyond has seen his support in national and state public opinion polls erode precipitously. That hero, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, saw his frontrunner status evaporate as two men who had not served in the U.S. armed forces--former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney--dominated in fundraising and local and national public support. Many political analysts, reflecting widespread
sentiment among Republican elites, saw McCain as irrelevant to the race and likely to withdraw.

Not anymore. Wednesday night's Fox News Channel debate saw McCain reassert his place in the top tier of Republican contenders. And it was his answers on critical foreign policy questions involving Gen. David Petraeus's "surge" strategy in Iraq, the interrogation techniques deployed on enemy detainees, and the use of military force against Iran that established his strong position. It increasingly seems clear that illegal immigration, the issue which dominated the Republican race throughout the spring and summer, and an issue on which McCain stands directly opposed to many in his party, will not be the issue on which the nomination is decided. To put it another way: Foreign policy has come home to roost.

Romney's defense of the surge was weak. In fact, he did not bother to defend it, reserving judgment until Gen. Petraeus addresses Congress on September 10. Romney said the surge was "apparently" working--at which point McCain found an opening to attack. "Governor, the surge is working," he said, going on to defend the policy and reminding voters that he has called for this strategy and increased troop levels since 2003. Flummoxed, Romney tried to recover, but failed. And Romney left an additional opening for McCain to attack his call for U.S. troops to move into a "support" role in Iraq--a strategic change that the latest National Intelligence Estimate has said would erase the security gains the surge has made so far.

McCain also drew a connection between his military service and his views on the treatment of enemy detainees, while highlighting the fact (though not explicitly) that Romney and Giuliani are not veterans. McCain was allowed the final words of the debate, responding to a question on Iran's nuclear programs. And both Giuliani and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee said kind words about the senator.

A lot is still to come in the race for the Republican presidential nomination and it's likely that Fred Thompson's entry will overshadow last night's debate. But when the history of the 2008 campaign is written, September 5 will likely be remembered as important. It's the day when many commentators' assumptions about the race were overthrown--and the fight was joined in full by every combatant.

Matthew Continetti is associate editor at THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

You can read the full text of the original article here. You can contact Campaignia at

Text of McCain's fundraising e-mail in the aftermath of 9/5 UNH debate, under the signature of Rick Davis

Below is the text of the fundraising e-mail, sent out under the signature of campaign manager Rick Davis on Thursday, September 6, in the aftermath of the previous day's debate at the University of New Hampshire.

This differs from other fundraising e-mails in two main respects. One is the fact that it is structured in the form of a memo from the campaign manager. While some previous e-mails had been sent out under the campaign manager's signatures- most, if not all, previous e-mails had been framed as ostensibly personal letters, with the first name of the recipient prominently noted in the salutation. The second difference is that it also has cool graphics and quotes from New Hampshire voters, about Senator McCain's performance during the debate.

Davis's text is italicized.

To: All McCain Supporters
From: Rick Davis, Campaign Manager
Re: Last Night's Debate

I hope you had a chance to watch last night's New Hampshire GOP Debate - it was a perfect example of why John McCain is the only candidate ready to be Commander-in-Chief from day one. And post-debate focus groups show the voters agree.

"I think John McCain sounded the most presidential, even the other candidates were quoting John McCain during their responses."

"I think McCain just has the experience and it came through in his answers."

"[H]e was very passionate about being a leader. And that's what we need in this country: a leader who's not afraid to do what he says."

"He exhibits leadership a lot better than other candidates seem to ... He was direct. He spoke forcefully in support for the war in Iraq."

Fox News' "Hannity & Colmes," 9/5/07

Bottom line: This campaign is in your hands. We need your help to turn last night's momentum into the votes needed to make John McCain our next president. It's clear that this isn't a time for spin or slick, made-for-TV responses. It's time for serious leadership and straight talk. At every turn last night, John McCain stood up with straight talk and a willingness to tackle our nation's challenges head-on.
I'm proud that John McCain is about solutions, not sound bites. Last night's
debate showed why John McCain is ready to be Commander-in-Chief from day one and win the war against Islamic extremists.

At last night's debate, voters in New Hampshire and around the country saw the John McCain we know and support - now it's our turn to stand up and make sure every voter gets to know John McCain before they cast their ballot. With the primaries getting closer every day, it's clear we need to have the resources necessary to help John McCain win right now. In a competitive campaign such as this one, we need every dollar possible to reach out to voters, spread John McCain's message and build our organization to get voters to the polls on Election Day.

As you saw from last night's debate, John McCain is winning over new supporters every day - and with your immediate contribution we can turn those new supporters into votes. He's been out on the road holding town hall meetings and talking with voters about the issues that matter to them in this campaign, and voters are responding to his leadership, experience and straight talk. I hope you'll join me in keeping last night's momentum going.

Paid for by John McCain 2008 ·

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