HUFFINGTON POST
03/28/2008 02:45 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Fmr Bush Adviser Slams '08 GOP Field

One of President Bush's closest advisers has a brutally candid analysis of the Republican nomination battle: Fred Thompson is the campaign's "biggest dud," Mitt Romney has "a real problem in the South" because people will not vote for a Mormon, Mike Huckabee's last name is too hick and John McCain could end up repeating 2000 by winning New Hampshire but losing the nomination.

Dan Bartlett, who stepped down as White House counselor in July after working nearly his entire adult life for Bush, gave those frank assessments of the Republican presidential candidates during a recent appearance before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that went unnoticed outside the room. Never before has Bartlett opened up in a public setting with such an unvarnished analysis of the race. And while he no longer formally speaks for the president, Bartlett spent 14 years channeling Bush and remains virtually his alter ego, so his views could be seen as a revealing look into the thinking within the president's inner circle.

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