A McCain ally writes:
I don’t have too many general rules of politics. Just a few, and near the top is this: never believe a Luntz focus group. He picks them and pushes to get a result. I am dead certain that two McCain moments from the debate would test through the roof, his exchange with the sister of the fallen soldier, and his rebuttal to Tancredo. You need look no further than the much larger focus group of NH Republicans that was present for the debate. Most of the 100 NH voters there were obviously more where Rudy and Mitt are on immigration than McCain (correction: I’m still unable to tell where Romney is exactly on immigration.) Yet the two loudest rounds of applause were for those two McCain highlights. It ain’t easy, but McCain is the best retail politician in the bunch. People who disagree with him very often are attracted to him anyway because they believe he is sincerely trying to do what he believes is right for his country. No one will ever feel that way about Mitt.