THE BLOG

New Hampshire: Mood Shift at Last Night's Giuliani Town Meeting

10/23/2007 11:17 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The following piece was produced by the Huffington Post's OffTheBus.

I've watched Rudy Giuliani at New Hampshire town meetings for the past few months. At last night's town hall in the Lebanon High School gym, I saw a change in audience reaction that gives me the confidence to predict that Giuliani will overtake Romney, win the New Hampshire primary and lock up the nomination.

Giuliani answered unplanted questions about abortion, job losses, gun control, habeas corpus, and Israel's security. His answers rambled long and sometimes wide, but always relaxed, confident, and softened with a joke. At least in this primary, it no longer matters here in New Hampshire as much as it did earlier that Giuliani is not in perfect sync with the GOP base on guns, gays and abortion.

Tonight's crowd beamed with approval anyway because Giuliani is winning on tough, smart leadership and by not pandering where he could.

The risk to Giuliani is not Romney, it is now a resurgent McCain. McCain and Giuliani are roughly equally hawkish on Iraq and equally checkered by GOP blemishes such as campaign finance reform and divorce, respectively.

This means that winning the New Hampshire GOP primary may come down to global warming. 75 percent of likely New Hampshire GOP primary voters want a federal cap on global warming gas pollution. McCain has a strong stand here, and, as a result, just picked up an endorsement from Republicans for Environmental Protection. Will Giuliani make a move on warming and call Romney for his flip flop on the issue?

Read more OffTheBus coverage here.