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MANCHESTER—Mitt Romney may be tottering elsewhere in the nation, but up here he is in top form and surging. (Joe Lieberman's endorsement of McCain didn't raise an eyebrow among the people I met.) There are few evangelicals in New Hampshire which makes the attacks against his Mormon faith scattered and relatively ineffective. More important, he is viewed as something of a native son, having been governor of Massachusetts, where many New Hampshire residents work. In that sense he calls to mind Paul Tsongas, the Massachusetts senator who won the Democratic primary in 1992. People crossed party lines to vote for him against Clinton, even though in the end it was for naught, with James Carville simply claiming a Clinton victory as the "Comeback Kid," and the press taking up the phrase like a chorus line.
Numerous Massachusetts residents had moved to the lightly taxed New Hampshire to avoid high taxes in Massachusetts, but still work there. At a town hall meeting at St. Anselm's College last night, Romney was boring, boring. Yet again he told the story of how he as a young businessman ignored the advice of the canny New England venture capitalists, and backed Staples when it looked like a loser. The company became a huge success, propelling young Romney onto center stage.