McCain vs. Romney (plus Laura Ingraham) vs. Dole vs. Limbaugh vs. McCain.
From Marc Ambinder:
After Dole sent a letter to Rush Limbaugh (kind of a weird choice,
there), Romney told Fox News that Dole is "probably the last person I
would have wanted to have write a letter for me. I think there a lot of
folks who tend to think that maybe John McCain's race is a bit like Bob
Dole's race. That it's the guy who's next in line, the inevitable
McCain called Romney's comments "disgraceful."
An hour ago, CBS News's Scott Conroy transcribed Romney's explanation:
"What I am pointing to and wanted to in my comment was that the
selection of our nominee based on someone having served in the Senate a
long time can be seen as the person who deserves the nomination did not
do well for us in that election. it is that aspect, not Sen. Dole that
I am referring to with that aspect in choosing someone who has been in
the senate the longest and giving it to him out of a sense of
obligation that I think it was the error, but there is certainly
nothing but respect on my part for senator Dole."
Again -- conservatives didn't trust Dole because they did not
believe he was one of them. The comparison with McCain -- from Romney's
perspective -- is apt... perhaps unfair and ungenerous, but it's
exactly the type of comparison Romney wants conservatives to make.
On the flip side, though, there are plenty of Republican voters
today who will find it unseemly that Romney appears to be casting
aspersions on a war hero and their 1996 nominee.