The Corner

Where McCain Stands

A letter:

I was just wondering if you still advocated the “One Term, with Feeling” strategy for the McCain campaign. He’s certainly made a noticeable comeback without having made that promise, and I can’t help thinking that for him to do so at this point would be counter-productive. It just seems to me that it would be a tacit admission that he’s too old for the job — something I don’t believe is true.

In any event, I officially became a McCainiac as of December 16, though I’d been steadily moving his way from Romney’s corner for about a month beforehand. I owe some of that to your support of his candidacy.

I still think McCain would be the GOP’s strongest general-election candidate, and I still think that it makes sense for him to make a one-term pledge–although at this point, he would have to win New Hampshire first.

 I have wondered whether he would have the resources necessary to capitalize on a New Hampshire win. But if it becomes a McCain-Giuliani race, or a McCain-Giuliani-Huckabee race, I think McCain would be favored to win. And the race could go in that direction.

Let’s say Huckabee beats Romney in Iowa and McCain comes in third. At that point, Thompson’s out of the race and Romney deflates in New Hampshire. If McCain then wins New Hampshire, Romney’s out of the race too. So then it’s a three-way race with between Huckabee, McCain, and Giuliani. It probably won’t happen this way, but it could. . . 

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg View, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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