John McCain and Mitt Romney, already battling in New Hampshire, are opening another front in Michigan, where Romney was born and raised and where Republicans vote on Jan. 15.
McCain trumpeted the endorsement yesterday of the Detroit News, which said the next president needs to deal with terrorism without destroying civil liberties, needs to rein in spending, and needs to find bipartisan solutions to immigration and healthcare. It called McCain the "candidate who is best qualified to lead the nation."
The News called Romney "an appealing candidate with considerable depth on key issues," but said he has "panted after the GOP's most conservative values voters, taking hard-line stands on gay marriage and abortion in conflict to his earlier positions as governor of Massachusetts. The result is that many voters will wonder if they're seeing the real Romney."
McCain yesterday also launched a new television ad in Michigan in which he brags about fighting lobbyists and special interests on campaign finance reform, battling with the Pentagon on US strategy in Iraq, and upsetting his own colleagues by railing against pork-barrel spending.
"I don't like the business-as-usual crowd in Washington," he says in the spot, similar to one he has run in New Hampshire. "But I love America. I love her enough to make some people angry."
In the most recent Michigan poll, in the Detroit News last month, Romney led with 21 percent and McCain was in fourth place with 10 percent, behind Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson.
The former New York mayor was to attend a rally in Hialeah, a heavily Cuban-American suburb of Miami. He has made winning Florida a central focus of his campaign, as he was predicted to do poorly in early states Iowa and New Hampshire. Rivals Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, and John McCain are focusing on those traditional states.
Meanwhile, a federal judge refused yesterday to delay Florida's Jan. 29 presidential primary.
US District Judge Robert Hinkle said it was just too late to stop the primary. He agreed, though, to later consider a constitutional challenge of a state law that set the early voting date in violation of national Democratic and Republican party rules.
Activists from both major parties had sought a temporary injunction to push Florida's primary back at least to Feb. 5. The national parties have stripped the state of all Democratic delegates and half its Republican delegates to the national conventions.
Jesse Jackson said in March that Obama has his vote. Jackson's son, Representative Jesse Jackson Jr., also backs Obama. But Jacqueline Jackson, in an ad this week, calls Clinton "by far the most qualified candidate to be president in these tough times." In the ad, Jacqueline Jackson talks about the role of women in nurturing their children and about the New York senator's work in attempting to provide universal healthcare.
Clinton and Obama are vying for the critical black vote in the Jan. 26 primary.