Patrick Hynes

Utah Governor Jon Huntsman tells a story of how he was stuck in Vietnam while on a trip when the enemy struck America on September 11th, 2001. While waiting for clearance to come home he decided to visit the so-called Hanoi Hilton, where he saw the display there dedicated to Sen. John McCain—"complete with propaganda," Huntsman says.

"And there was just something that hit me. As my country was being attacked and as I sat looking at the cell in which John McCain was held for five-and-a-half years, for some reason in my mind, the man, the imagine of leadership came to the forefront in the most remarkable way," Huntsman told a crowd of Republicans in New Hampshire last weekend.

Huntsman supports Sen. John McCain for President of the United States and he was not shy to share his passion for McCain with Granite Staters. But neither was he the lone dignitary in New Hampshire that day. Across the street former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore was giving a speech to a crowded room of conservatives. And Rep. Tom Tancredo was in town giving a speech about the hazards of not securing our borders against illegal immigrants.

These political stars were in New Hampshire on that cold, blustery January weekend because roughly 500 Granite State Republicans were gathered in Manchester to conduct some official business—electing a new chairman and national committeeman. And when 500 Republicans get together in New Hampshire the year before a presidential election there is certain to be a revolving door of presidential aspirants.

Of course, the main attraction was the GOP meeting’s keynote speaker former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. While this was hardly Giuliani’s first visit to the Granite State, it was his first big visit after having launched his presidential exploratory committee. His speech was long and, by some accounts, a bit listless. As for me, I thought it was a good speech. Giuliani is attempting to circumvent his difference on social issues with hardcore Republicans by appealing to areas of agreement: National security and fiscal responsibility. The crowd seemed receptive.

Patrick Hynes

Patrick Hynes is the president of New Media Strategics, a blog relations consultancy. He is the proprietor of Ankle Biting Pundits and the author of In Defense of the Religious Right (Nelson Current).

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