Monday, January 28, 2008

God bless the "L-word"

Romney: McCain bills favored 'liberal Democrat course'
Published on: 01/28/08

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Republican Mitt Romney wound up his Florida primary campaign on Monday with his most bitter criticism yet of rival John McCain, saying three signature bills the Arizona senator pushed in Congress aimed the country on "a liberal Democrat course."

The former Massachusetts governor said the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance law "hit the First Amendment" with its controls over advertising spending.

He labeled last year's failed McCain-Kennedy immigration bill "the amnesty bill" for a provision that would have allowed illegal immigrants to remain in the country indefinitely. And he said a 2003 McCain-Lieberman energy cap-and-trade bill would have increased energy costs for the average Florida family of four by $1,000.

"If you ask people, 'look at the three things Senator McCain has done as a senator,' if you want that kind of a liberal Democrat course as president, then you can vote for him," Romney told campaign workers who would be manning his phone banks before Tuesday's primary vote. "But those three pieces of legislation, those aren't conservative, those aren't Republican, those are not the kind of leadership that we need as we go forward."

Also on Monday, former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani — who has been spending about $1 million a week in advertising in Florida — said he remained hopeful about the outcome, despite polls that show him running a distant third to McCain and Romney.

"The only numbers I'm concerned about are on Election Day," Giuliani said on CBS' "The Early Show."

He said the fact he'd spent so much time in the state will help him on Tuesday. "There was a lot of early voting that was going on. I think we're going to do very well in Florida," he said.

Romney, meanwhile, drew chuckles from the audience when he recalled there was talk during the 2004 campaign of McCain teaming up with Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the Democratic presidential nominee, on the opposing party's ticket.

"Had someone asked me that question, there would not have been a nanosecond of thought about it; it would have been an immediate laugh," Romney said. "And, of course, if someone asked him if he would consider me as a running mate, he would have also laughed immediately."

Romney was spending Monday flying around Florida, which offers 57 delegates to the primary winner.

His schedule included stops in Fort Myers, Sanford, Panama City, Jacksonville and St. Petersburg.