Support for Iraq Presence Strong in Michigan Meeting

Mackinac Island, Michigan

How Valuable is the Romney Name? Warm recollections of his late parents will be a big help to Mitt Romney in winning the Republican presidential primary next January 15th.
That’s what the former Massachusetts governor–who was born and raised in Michigan–told reporters as he arrived at the Michigan Republican Leadership Conference at the Grand Hotel here today.
“It was a good piece of news to hear Michigan’s going early,” said Romney in response to a question from the BBC’s Jamie Coomarasany, adding that wife ” Anne and I were born here and raised here. I have go” ” a great team here. “
He then referred to his late parents, former Michigan Gov. (1962-89) George Romney and wife Lenore, the Republican nominee for US Senator in 1970. ” My Dad’s name and my Mom’s name and their reputation [sic] are better than mine will ever be so to be able to able to build on that is a big plus .  It gives me a real shot not just in the primary process but in the general election.  Just a few extra folks will say I’m not comfortable with that Romney fellow , I may not be really comfortable with that Republican Party right now but I remember George Romney and Lenore Romney and they were good honest people. If that kid’s anything like his parents, he’d make a pretty good president.”

Support for Iraq Presence Strong: It was no surprise to reporters that Mitt Romney, who has been quoted criticizing the Bush Administration’s handling of the Iraq operations, today came out with strong words of praise for the mission and Gen. David Petraeus. 

According to a just-completed poll by veteran Michigan pollster Steve Mitchell, whatever the general public thinks, likely Michigan Republican voters strongly back either a phased withdrawal of troops recommended by Petraeus or believe that U.S. should stay in Iraq “as long as we are needed.”
Mitchell unveiled his poll on a panel last night at the annual Republican Leadership Conference hosted by the Michigan GOP here at the storied Grand Hotel.  Among likely GOP voters statewide, Mitchell found, only 14% believe that we “should begin pulling out troops tomorrow.”  However, 38% believe we should “begin the phased troop withdrawal recommended by General Petraeus (which would take us to pre-surge levels by next July) and 38% say we “should stay as long as we are needed in Iraq,” according to Mitchell’s polls.
“In other words, 76% of those likely to vote in the primary January 15th back troops in Iraq,” Mitchell told the panel.  He contrasted the figures to his survey research among likely Democratic primary voters:  57% feel we should begin puling troops out tomorrw, only 18% feel we should “begin the phased troop withdrawal recommended by General Petraeus,” and 11% feel we should stay in Iraq as long as we are needed, said Mitchell.
Michigan has no party registration and presidential primary voters must state their preference as to which party’s presidential race they wish to vote in next January 15th. 

Dick Morris on Likely Candidates: The political consultant best known as one of the architects of Bill Clinton’s political rise predicted this morning that Rudy Giuliani will most likely be the Republican nominee for president and will choose Mike Huckabee as his running mate.
Morris, who spoke to me this morning at the annual Leadership Conference here sponsored by the Michigan Republican Party, dismissed the former New York mayor’s problems with cultural conservatives on abortion and other issues. 

In his words, “Terrorism is the most important social issue and Rudy is solid on terrorism,” said Morris, who has also worked for conservative Republicans such as Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi.

But Morris, now a syndicated columnist and author, also said that the New Yorker could improve his standing among social conservatives by picking someone solid on their issues as a vice presidential runningmate.  The likeliest choice for Giuliani, Morris predicted, is former Arkansas Gov. Huckabee, who is solidly pro-life and has consistently won high marks for his performance in nationally-televised debates.