Mitt Romney has gotten stung by another so-called "anti-endosement" -- a New Hampshire newspaper, the statewide Manchester Union Leader, is calling upon voters to pass on the former Massacusetts governor. Following on the heels of a similar Concord Monitor blast over the weekend, the editorial cites:
"There is a reason Mitt Romney has not received a single newspaper endorsement in New Hampshire. It's the same reason his poll numbers are dropping. He has not been able to convince the people of this state that he's the conservative he says he is.
Like a lot of people in New Hampshire, we wanted to believe Romney. We gave him the benefit of the doubt. We listened very carefully to his expertly rehearsed sales pitch. But in the end he didn't close the deal for us. Now, two weeks before the primary, the same is happening with voters.
Republicans and right-leaning independents in New Hampshire gave Romney a chance. His events have not been sparsely attended. Nor have they been scarce. He's made more campaign stops here this year than any other Republican, even John McCain.
And after a year of comparing Romney to McCain, of sizing up the two in person and in the media, Granite Staters are turning back to McCain. The former Navy pilot, once written off by the national media establishment, is now in a statistical dead heat with Romney here.
How could that be? Romney has all the advantages: money, organization, geographic proximity, statesman-like hair, etc.
But he lacks something John McCain has in spades: conviction.
Granite Staters want a candidate who will look them in the eye and tell them the truth. John McCain has done that day in and day out, never wavering, never faltering, never pandering.
Mitt Romney has not. He has spoken his lines well, but the people can sense that the words are memorized, not heartfelt.
Last week Romney was reduced to debating what the meaning of "saw" is. It was only the latest in a string of demonstrably false claims -- he'd been a hunter "pretty much" all his life, he'd had the NRA's endorsement, he marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. -- that call into question the veracity of his justifications for switching sides on immigration, abortion, taxes and his affection for Ronald Reagan.
In this primary, the more Mitt Romney speaks, the less believable he becomes. That is why Granite Staters who have listened attentively are now returning to John McCain. They might not agree with McCain on everything, as we don't, but like us, they judge him to be a man of integrity and conviction, a man who won't sell them out, who won't break his promises, and who won't lie to get elected.
Voters can see that John McCain is trustworthy. Mitt Romney has spent a year trying to convince Granite Staters that he is as well. It looks like they aren't buying it. And for good reason."