From NBC/National Journal's Mike Memoli
John McCain's campaign will deliver a complaint to the New Hampshire Attorney General's office this afternoon seeking an investigation into the source of push polls in the state.
The Associated Press reported this morning that voters in NH and IA began receiving phone calls raising questions about Mitt Romney last weekend. The calls specifically called attention to Romney's Mormon faith and draft deferments he received. The calls also refer to McCain's service in Vietnam, sources say. McCain's campaign denies any connection.
"These tactics are repugnant and despicable and there is no place in New Hampshire politics for push polling or any other negative tactics that engage in personal attacks," said former Rep. Chuck Douglas, McCain's New Hampshire vice chair, in a statement released by the campaign. "It is especially shameful that those responsible would hide behind a push poll to impugn a candidate's faith."
While campaigning in New Hampshire last week, John McCain's mother, Roberta, referred to Romney's faith during a live interview on "Hardball." McCain quickly responded, saying the Mormons were great people and that Romney's faith should not be a factor in the race. At a press conference this morning in Colorado, McCain said the push polling "is disgraceful; it is outrageous, and it is a violation, we believe, of New Hampshire law," according to the AP. Referring to push polls during his 2000 campaign, he added: "I have seen this movie before."
McCain begins a four-day trip to New Hampshire this afternoon.
*** UPDATE *** From Todd Harris, communications director of the Thompson campaign: "There is no room for this kind of smut in a Republican primary election. While there are certainly issues our campaigns disagree on, we are united by far more than that which divides us. One of our candidates is going to emerge from this process as the standard bearer for all Republicans, and we will need a united party to win next year. This kind of robo-dial bigotry which tears down Republicans today will only serve to prop up Democrats tomorrow. It has to end and end now."