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McCain's Street Cred Aids Romney

Jon Greenberg, NHPR
Romney signs autographs after his Peterborough event with McCain

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is benefiting from the endorsement of Arizona senator John McCain.  Some voters are ready to translate their trust in McCain into a vote for Romney.

John McCain has long been popular in New Hampshire.  He trounced George W. Bush in the 2000 primary and edged out Mitt Romney in 2008.  At a packed event in the historic Peterborough town hall, McCain urged people to get behind his former rival.

Independent voter Jim Walsh came to the event undecided.  McCain was his pick four years ago.  Tonight, he left a Romney backer, thanks in part to McCain’s endorsement.

“It helps.  But I trust my own ears as well.  It helps of course, but it didn’t make my mind up for me.”

Walsh said what won him over was the sincerity in Romney’s voice when he answered questions that ranged from how he would deal with Pakistan to his approach to health care.

At one telling moment, McCain asked voters to send Romney to South Carolina with such a powerful momentum that nothing would stop him.  What McCain left unsaid was that in 2000 his massive 18-point victory over George Bush was not enough to power him through the Palmetto State.  Bush had a huge money advantage and used it to sour voters on McCain through negative television ads.