Blog written by Morgan Smith

Sunday, January 5, 2008 was a telling day for the Republican candidates for president of the United States. The second to last day of the 2008 New Hampshire nomination campaign after Iowa voters supported the candidates of their choice in the storied caucuses of the Hawkeye state was an interesting one. The candidates squared off yet again in a televised debate, answering questions and pointing fingers at their opponents.

The tone of the debate, like several other recent forums, quickly turned from the candidates providing insightful and succinct answers to important questions to a bickering and backstabbing mele. The most disappointing back and forth however, came from governors Romney and Huckabee. Both men have become desperate in the past 3 days since the Iowa caucuses concluded. Huckabee because New Hampshire voters have not been receptive to his Baptist minister rhetoric and he can’t afford to lose the momentum he gained coming out of Iowa. Romney because he can’t afford to lose his neighboring state, where he once held a commanding lead.

The real losers of this exchange are the voters in New Hampshire and subsequent primary states. The problem is at this point in the campaign there is almost no time to win over voters. Instead, the candidates are focusing on deterring people from voting at all, hoping that a 2 or 3 point drop in their opponents turnout will vault them to a victory. The winner in the heated exchange between these rivals is John McCain.

Both Huckabee and Romney are using spin to distort the facts about each other’s past, manipulating data and selectively using facts to attempt to discredit the other. In an ideal world, the candidates would be less concerned with creating negatives about their opponents and wholly committed to providing sound policy decisions to improve our country. It is my hope that New Hampshire voters can see through the spin and choose the best candidate for themselves based on the candidates strengths instead of the weaknesses presented by their rivals. The Republican candidates would be well served to stop parading their opponent’s skeletons about, giving the democrats less fodder for the General Election in the fall, and discouraging republican voters from uniting behind their candidate in November.