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Giuliani Aiming to Take Down Romney in New Hampshire

By Paul Bedard

Posted: May 24, 2011

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani isn’t just thinking about running for president next year: It’s his obsession and he’s already mapping out a strategy to knock off GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney in New Hampshire.

According to a long-time supporter, New York Rep. Peter King, running and winning this time is “almost a full-time business for him.”

What’s more, adds King, Giuliani has already been “talking to people in New Hampshire” about his strategy to focus all his early attention there, not the Iowa caucus, because beating Romney in the former Massachusetts governor’s political backyard will propel the New Yorker’s candidacy into the next two showdowns in South Carolina and Nevada. [Check out a roundup of political cartoons on the 2012 GOP candidates.]

“He would focus on New Hampshire almost entirely,” said King at a Monday night dinner organized by the conservative American Spectator magazine. “He is very close to running.”

And apparently so is King. Urged to run by his local GOP supporters, King said he was game for a presidential bid. The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, who has a knack for grabbing controversial topics said, “Why not see where it’s going to go. Odds are one in a million.” But, he added, running for president provides him a national “forum” to address his concerns about terror attacks in America and charges that the Muslim community is not being cooperative enough with the FBI.

He added that his first choice was New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, but the first-termer rebuffed King’s efforts to get him into the race. [Vote now: Who is your pick for the 2012 GOP nomination?]

Giuliani ran a poor race in 2008 and King said some of the blame goes to all the strategists the former mayor hired. “They were keeping Rudy from being Rudy,” said King. He said one of the political selling points Giuliani has going for him is that “you’re a son of a bitch” when it comes to fighting crime, reforming welfare, and cutting taxes.

Despite being quiet on whether or not he plans to run, Giuliani has polled well. In the most recent Suffolk University poll, he was the third choice of GOP primary voters.

GOP pollster Frank Luntz said that Giuliani would have to work hard to win back supporters who felt he blew a great chance at the GOP nomination in 2008. “If he were to run, it would have to be all-out and he’d have to show people that he would be a different candidate from 2008. He upset donors because he didn’t campaign hard enough. If he wants to almost literally move to New Hampshire, he’d be credible.”

But his moderate positions on social issues, like abortion, could cause him problem since the GOP primary voters have become more conservative.

A conservative activist who’s advised Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee and Haley Barbour told Whispers, “There is no market for a pro-choice, pro-gay marriage GOP candidate in the primary field.”