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John McCain aims his guns at Mitt Romney

December 26, 2007 |  7:09 pm

Well, it may have something to do with John McCain's comeback rise in the New Hampshire polls and his desire to close in even closer on the tail of Republican presidential opponent Mitt Romney, but the former Navy pilot is letting loose with however many barrels he's got left to fire in those old wings.

Today, under the senator's own name, his campaign released a rather strong statement, usually reserved for aides to keep the candidate cleaner and above the dirty ground fighting. Here's what McCain said:

"I know something about tailspins, and it's pretty clear Mitt Romney is in one. It's disappointing that he would launch desperate, flailing and false attacks in an attempt to maintain relevance. As the Union Leader said today, New Hampshire voters just aren't buying his act, and these latest attacks won't help him."

Earlier today the McCain camp issued a lengthy list of old Romney statements on immigration, once perceived as a McCain weak spot among conservatives who did not like his support of so-called amnesty for illegal immigrants last spring. But now McCain is on the offensive, citing how Romney appeared to endorse similar positions in numerous news articles from the past. Echoes of the old flip-flop attacks.

And in case you missed it, here's Sunday's opening shot on Romney from the McCain camp by the senator's advisor (and frequent co-author) Mark Salter, issued just before the Christmas truce went into effect:

"Welcome to Mitt Romney's bizarro world, in which everyone is guilty of his sins. He didn't support Ronald Reagan. He didn't support President Bush's tax cuts. He raised taxes in Massachusetts by $700 million. He knows John McCain is gaining on him so he does what any small varmint gun totin', civil rights marching, NRA-endorsed fantasy candidate would do: He questions someone else's credibility. New Hampshire is on to you, Mitt. Give it a rest. It's Christmas."

Other than that, the two are getting along just fine as the Iowa caucus (Jan. 3) and New Hampshire primary (Jan. 8) near.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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