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Mitt The Weak. McCain The Strong.

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His numbers are awful against Obama or Hillary in a national race. Both would beat him handily by double digits.

As Michael Medved points out…

In the head-to-head contest with Barack Obama he is utterly wiped out, losing by a margin of 22 points (59% to 37%). Against Hillary Clinton, Romney fares little better, falling 18 percentage points behind (58% to 40%).

The results for other candidates show that this is a Romney problem, not a Republican problem.

John McCain, for instance, virtually ties both Obama and Clinton – running 48%-49% against Obama and 48%-50% against Clinton. In other words, in a trial heat against Barack Obama, Senator McCain runs a startling 21 points closer than does Governor Romney.

Even Mike Huckabee (despite remaining virtually unknown to many Americans) draws slightly stronger support than Romney – running 3 points closer to Obama and 4 points closer to Clinton.

I wouldn’t put too much stock in the Huckabee numbers, but the GOP should take heed of McCain’s strength with independents. If they really want to win, McCain is the guy to do it. He has the most credibility and could take it to Obama or Hillary over experience, especially since the surge is at least winning the PR war.

And how about this? McCain locks up the nomination in the coming weeks and then asks Sam Brownback or Mike Huckabee to be his VP candidate, thereby securing the evangelical vote.

I proposed something similar when Brownback dropped out in October

Here’s the score. If Giuliani does SOMEHOW manage to get the nomination without the social conservatives, bringing a Brownback or Huckabee on board to pull the faithful back to the fold seems logical. I doubt it would be Brownback because he came off as fairly disingenuous during the debates, but Huckabee?

I wouldn’t put it past McCain. He knows this is his last shot and if McCain is anything, he’s a survivor.