In his 30 minute speech, Guliani recited a long list of things he did as mayor of New York and applied them successfully to the city in a speech with long stretches without applause or laughter. The New Hampshire crowd, eager for some lift after suffering historic losses at every level in November was stirred only when Giuliani made odes to freedom, low taxes, and New York’s firefighters. His obligatory nod to the state’s “Live Free or Die” motto early on was rarely matched again in the laugh-free adress. The Upper East Side Republican made no mention of social issues. 

New Hampshire supporters for candidates Tom Tancredo, John McCain, Mitt Romney and Duncan Hunter mingled among the crowd of state party regulars with signs and stickers. Few activists sported “Team Rudy” stickers. Operatives for the campaigns were seeking commitments from crucial locals.

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The crowd was capable of traditional political tub-thumping enthusiasm. It roared with approval shortly after Giuliani left when former Congressman Jeb Bradley announced that he will seek to recpature the seat he narrowly lost in November after 2 terms. ~Hotline

I spent Saturday in Manchester, NH where Rudy Giuliani was the keynote speaker at the annual meeting of the Republican State Committee. I plan to write a longer piece on this for our main website on Monday, so I don’t want to go into too much detail here. But the bottom line is that the speech was very well received, and after speaking extensively to NH Republican activists, it became clear to me that the primary is very much in play for Rudy, and social issues, while an obstacle, will not be a deal breaker for him here. The closest thing I found to a consensus view was that it’s very early, voters want to get to know each of the candidates a lot better before making a decision, but the door is definitely open for Giuliani. ~Philip Klein

The door may be open, but if Hotline is to be trusted (and it usually is) it sounds as Giuliani didn’t do terribly well.  It doesn’t sound as if his speech was all that well-received, unless silence is the new measure of approval of politicians’ public speaking.  It sounds as if Giuliani’s ground game in N.H. lags behind a number of other campaigns, and it seems that few are very excited about him–and he has to be the most nationally well-known candidate in the field, which makes his relative unpopularity at this stage worse than it would be for anyone else. 

The primary may be in play for him, but he doesn’t seem to be playing very well in the primary state.  Obligatory qualifiers: it’s early, there’s still a lot of time for Giuliani to gain ground, etc.  However, if this coming primary season is going to be significantly altered by the onslaught of states moving their primaries to early February and if N.H. goes so far as to move their primary back into ‘07 to retain their place as “first in the nation, the clock is already ticking down.  Giuliani may only have a little over ten months to get his act together, and for the last two months he has dithered.  Right now, he is technically still not an announced candidate for President.  He is frittering away time he doesn’t have and losing opportunities to snatch up the politicos in the early primary states, all of which contributes to uncertainty about his campaign and gives his competitors every advantage.  Before long, he may slip behind Brownback in National Journal’s race rankings.