Former N.H. House Speaker Calls Giuliani Strategy "Horrible"

(CBS)
From CBS News' Ryan Corsaro:

New Hampshire's former Speaker of the House says Rudy Giuliani is ignoring his state and believes the campaign will suffer from the lack of attention.

77 year-old Marshall Cobleigh, a veteran figure in New Hampshire politics, tells CBS News that Giuliani is ignoring New Hampshire and Iowa – a plan he has seen fail in the past.

"I think he's the most qualified guy running for president, and I think he's got horrible national strategy."

Cobleigh, who retired from formal office in 1996, is still active in politics. His home in Manchester is lined with political cartoons from the past forty years – many depicting him – as well as photos of Cobleigh with former presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.

Cobleigh has attended advisory meetings for the Giuliani campaign and says he still wants the former mayor to become president, despite what he sees as a flaw in the campaign's priorities.

"The Giuliani people have never really realized that momentum is important," said Cobleigh. "And Mike DuHaime, who is his advisor, is really hurting him in my opinion because Giuliani is the most able to be president, but he's getting horrible advice."

Giuliani Campaign Manager Mike DuHaime has said that February 5th, also known as "Super Duper Tuesday", will prove that Giuliani has the delegate count to win the nomination. Giuliani himself says the campaign leads right now in 15 of 22 states that will vote on that date.

So why is New Hampshire's primary so important to Cobleigh for winning a party's nomination?

"It's the fact that if you do well in New Hampshire, you get covered by all the media in the world," says Cobleigh. "Now people are going to think, this guy doesn't care."

Despite Cobleigh's verdict, the former mayor was holding a town hall for employees of a Durham printing company today and plans to spend the weekend before Christmas campaigning in new Hampshire.

"We'll be here and we'll be working really hard to get your vote," Giuliani told the crowd. "We want to do everything we can to win the vote here."

But for Marshall Cobleigh, the feeling is that there's no longer time to change the minds of New Hampshire voters.

"I think it's too late," he says. "They've made their decision."

Giuliani N.H. campaign chairman Wayne Semprini responded, telling CBS News, "Mayor Giuliani has spent more than a month of days in New Hampshire during the past year. That's in the context of a nominating calendar that has more primaries happening earlier than ever before. Bottom line, Rudy has demonstrated his commitment to New Hampshire by continuing to make frequent visits here."
  • Ryan Corsaro

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