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Giuliani's Bid to Woo New Hampshire Independents Centers on Health Care
Independents will make all the difference in New Hampshire.
That bloc, who encompasses above 40 percent of registered voters in the state, exercises enormous influence in the presidential primary procedure, as unaffiliated individuals can cast a ballot in whichever the Democratic or Republican primary.
While Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has drawn perhaps the most attention for his attempts to woo New Hampshire's independents, former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani (R) is set to begin a direct mail and radio campaign of his own aimed at persuading unaligned voters to back his candidacy.
Both the radio ads, which will start airing, and the direct-mail piece, which will land in Granite State mailboxes over the next few days, are centered on Giuliani's health-care plan.
In the radio spot, Giuliani mentions his battle with prostate cancer and notes that his chances of surviving the disease in America were 82 percent, while in England his chances would have been 44 percent.
Giuliani says in the ad, "You and I should be making the decisions about what kind of health care we get with our doctors, not with a government bureaucrat."
The mail piece echoes that message. "Rudy Giuliani's health care plan offers freedom to choose a health plan that fits your needs and the freedom to keep it if you change jobs," the flier reads, above a graphic that shows Giuliani's plan does not amount to "government mandated health insurance" or require a tax increase.
Even Giuliani spokesperson Maria Comella is on message. She said when asked about the health-care push, "Mayor Giuliani has the right idea when it comes to health care, and it has nothing to do with socialized medicine or government mandates."
Giuliani's appeal to personal freedom on health care, an issue repeatedly ranked among the most pressing by independent voters in New Hampshire, is aimed squarely at that great segment of voters in New Hampshire who believe firmly in the mantra of less government and lower taxes. (It is the "Live Free or Die" State, after all.)
For Giuliani to win New Hampshire, he should find a foothold among those voters many of whom will be shopping for a candidate, Republican or Democrat, who speaks to their concerns in January's primary. His profile as a fiscal conservative/social moderate must get him in the door; his campaign is hoping proposals like his health-care plan can close the deal.