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Presidential contenders woo New Hampshire voters

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3:40 p.m. (EDT)

Ohio Gov. John Kasich would like Republican voters in New Hampshire to hold off committing to a presidential candidate while he decides whether to become one.

“Think about me, would ya?” he asked a roomful Saturday. “Don’t commit too soon.”

“Let us all have a chance to breathe and get out.”

The governor said he’s still mulling things over.

“I’m trying to figure out what the Lord wants me to do with my life,” he said. “If I feel this is my call, I will come back again and again and again.”

Kasich talked up his election margins in Ohio, which he described as “the swingiest swing state in America.” He also stood apart from some potential rivals in emphasizing the value of bipartisan cooperation.

Republicans shouldn’t “demonize our adversaries and our opponents,” he said, and should deliver a message of unity. Others on the stage had lots to say about one adversary, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

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3:20 p.m. (EDT)

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee says he’s survived the Clinton political machine before. It appears he would like a chance to survive it again.

The 2008 Republican presidential candidate will announce his 2016 intentions May 5 in former President Bill Clinton‘s hometown of Hope, Ark. Campaigning in New Hampshire on Saturday, Huckabee highlighted his background with the Clintons, who rose to power before he became governor in 1993.

“I know the Clintons all too well — they play to win,” he said. “I faced them time and time again. I lived to win. I lived to even tell about it.”

Hillary Rodham Clinton is the favorite in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

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2:45 p.m. (EDT)

Even though Republican presidential hopefuls have a contest among themselves to settle, they’ve devoted considerable energy in New Hampshire to going after Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Businesswoman Carly Fiorina was vigorous on the subject in her turn on stage in Nashua on Saturday.

“Hillary Clinton must not be president of the United States,” she declared.

The former business executive said Clinton lacks the achievements and candor to be president and would damage the nation’s potential.

She laced into the bloat of the federal government, as well. “The weight of the government is literally crushing the potential of the people of this nation,” she said.

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2:30 p.m. (EDT)

Businessman Donald Trump proposed sending Wall Street negotiators — “killers” — to handle diplomacy in the trickiest parts of the world.

“I’d say go to China — go make a deal,” Trump said, charging that the Obama administration has been using “babies” in important diplomatic posts.

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2:15 p.m. (EDT)

School choice is at the center of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal‘s efforts to woo Republican primary voters.

A crowd of Republican activists gathered in New Hampshire loved what he had to say on the subject.

“We trust the American people more than bureaucrats,” Jindal told the crowd to cheers Saturday. “We have gotta get rid of Common Core.”

The Common Core education standards, adopted by nearly every state, are drawing ire from conservative voters across the country. So far at New Hampshire’s two-day gathering of presidential hopefuls, Jindal is the only person making school choice the focus of his campaign-in-waiting. To make his case, he’s pointing to Louisiana policies enacted during his tenure that make it easier for children to attend private or charter schools.

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1:40 p.m. (EDT)

Mike Huckabee mixed the political and personal at a New Hampshire gun range, speaking of gun rights as a stand against tyranny and trying out a pistol his wife is thinking of buying.

The potential 2016 Republican presidential contender tested a handful of weapons at the indoor range Saturday, one of them a Sig Sauer P238 pistol, which his wife, Janet, is considering as a replacement for the gun she packs now. He posed proudly with one of his target patterns afterward.

Huckabee underscored his commitment to gun rights, which he said is not about hunting and extends well beyond self-protection.

“It’s really about the ultimate line of defense that free citizens have to protect themselves against tyranny,” he said. The former Arkansas governor said the BB gun he had at age 5 was his first gun.

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12:50 p.m. (EDT)

Rand Paul says the election of a female president would not be a huge achievement, in his estimation, because women are already “kicking butt.”

People don’t want to be judged on the basis of their sex, he told The Associated Press in an interview. Asked whether it’s time for the U.S. to have a woman as president, he said: “I think that’s a sexist comment, and shame on you for being so sexist.”

He quickly added that comment was “facetious.”

Paul is among Republicans vying for the party’s 2016 nomination; Hillary Rodham Clinton is the dominant contender for the Democratic prize and, if successful, would likely become the first female president. Paul, a Kentucky senator, drew attention for his testy exchanges with the press after his campaign announcement, with some critics suggesting he had a particular problem dealing with journalists who are women.

Interviewed Saturday by two female AP writers, Paul addressed how he sees the position women in politics and society evolving.

He said women are already “involved at every level and in everything now,” reducing the urgency of electing a woman to the White House.

And he predicted that, in his lifetime, women will achieve parity in politics and the workplace.

“I guess what I don’t like is, oh somehow, you know, ‘Poor, woe is me, women aren’t doing well,'” he said. “I think women are kicking butt.”

He also predicted a future with more stay-at-home dads raising families. “Historically men worked and women stayed home, and women physiologically have the babies. I think women are going to still probably have the babies, but I think there’s going to be a lot of men who stay home because women are going to have a better job.”

“But I don’t think anything needs to be done to fix that. I think it’s going to happen, and it’s a natural evolution.”

He spoke from New Hampshire after addressing the GOP’s conference with 2016 hopefuls.

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12:40 p.m. (EDT)

Once the mob of Republican presidential hopefuls clears out of New Hampshire, Hillary Rodham Clinton will be coming in.

Clinton visits Keene on Monday and Concord on Tuesday in her first trip to the early voting state since declaring her second bid for the Democratic presidential nomination a week ago.

She’ll speak with employees of Whitney Brothers Inc., a small business that makes wood furniture, on Monday and hold a round table with students and teachers at New Hampshire Technical Institute the next day.

Clinton’s team says she’ll also have private meetings with elected officials and other local leaders and activists.

Clinton won the 2008 New Hampshire primary in a long struggle with Barack Obama before he eventually won the Democratic nomination.

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10:30 A.M. (EDT)

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is drawing sharp contrasts with his 2016 Republican presidential rivals, accusing some in his party of being too eager to commit U.S. forces to foreign wars.

Paul had his turn on the stage Saturday at a gathering of 2016 contenders and hundreds of GOP activists in New Hampshire. He highlighted views on criminal justice, national security, taxes and foreign policy that distinguish him from many in the field.

“There’s a group of folks in our party who would have troops in six countries right now, maybe more,” Paul said. More hawkish figures in the GOP consider Paul’s views to be dangerously isolationist.

But when asked whether he would send troops to fight Islamic State militants, he replied he would.

Paul’s speech opened the second day of a state Republican Party event featuring nearly 20 Republican presidential hopefuls.

• • •

9:15 a.m. (EDT)

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is making it a family affair while campaigning in New Hampshire.

Paul visited the D.W. Diner in Merrimack on Saturday morning with his 16-year-old son, Robert, by his side. The two shook hands with the breakfast crowd, and the presidential candidate took questions on education policy and Russia.

Rand Paul is in New Hampshire for a gathering of about 20 potential and declared candidates for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

The Paul family has a long history in New Hampshire. The senator’s father, former Rep. Ron Paul, had a strong base of support in the state during his presidential runs.

One diner patron forgot for a moment which Paul plans to be on the ballot this time around.

“New Hampshire loves Ron Paul!” she exclaimed, before correcting herself. “Rand Paul, Rand Paul.”

• • •

9 a.m. (EDT)

Mike Huckabee is still playing coy about his presidential ambitions. He realizes this is wearing thin, but he can’t help it.

“I know it sounds ridiculous,” said the former Arkansas governor, building steam for a Dr. Seuss-like answer, “but for all the legal purposes, one can’t make an announcement until you make the announcement. You can only tell people that you’re going to make the announcement. So I can tell you I’m going to make an announcement.”

On Friday, he said he would announce May 5 in Hope, Arkansas, whether he is running again for the GOP nomination.

He already seems to be.

He made the comment before a Saturday breakfast stop at North Side Grille in Hudson, N.H. He’s in the state with a large group of other potential candidates who are addressing a meeting in Nashua.

If he runs, he says he will focus on working-class voters who feel left out of the Republican Party. He predicts he will have a stronger base of financial support than in his 2008 bid.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press. 

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