More Alleged Push Polling

Here we go again...

Presidential candidate John McCain asked yesterday for an investigation of thousands of calls to New Hampshire voters disparaging the Republican senator and supporting rival Mike Huckabee.

In a letter to the New Hampshire attorney general's office, McCain's campaign accused a Colorado-based nonprofit, Common Sense Issues, of illegally conducting push polling, which is asking questions intended to influence voters while pretending to take a poll.

"This push poll disparages John McCain, while, at the same time, urging support for Governor Huckabee," McCain adviser Chuck Douglas wrote. "We demand a full inquiry into these distressing and illegal calls."

Common Sense Issues responded that New Hampshire law doesn't apply to presidential primaries, only to other elections.

"This law isn't applicable to us," said Patrick Davis, the group's executive director. "This is a headline-grabbing release. I'm not surprised this is coming from the McCain campaign. . . . This is pretty straightforward. They didn't read the law."

The state law regulating push-polling says the caller must identify the candidate he is working for or against. Deputy Attorney General Bud Fitch said the law specifically exempts primary campaigns.

Common Sense Issues favors Huckabee but does not explicitly say so in the calls, which are similar to ones being made in Iowa, South Carolina and Florida.

Voters are asked if they know that McCain was part of a group "that derailed the nominations of 14 conservative judicial nominees." The callers also ask voters if they know McCain limited the free-speech rights of anti-abortion groups and pushed for campaign finance legislation.

First it was anti-Romney calls, now anti-McCain calls... Huckabee has been all over Romney for his religion (which is interesting when one considers how Huckabee responds to questions about his own record), which raises a suspicion in my mind... is it truly the Huckabee campaign behind this, and if it is, was it also Huckabee behind the anti-Romney push-polls?

This one is far from over, folks, and could really destroy the Huckabee campaign. Unfortunately, the failure of Huckabee could cause future problems for Christian candidates... I'm still ruminating on those effects, so more on that later.