Bush Campaigns in New Hampshire
NEW CASTLE, N.H. (AP) _ George W. Bush brought his front-running Republican president campaign to New Hampshire today, boasting of his political organization in this leadoff primary state and promising supporters he would be ``a man of my word.″
Bush drew more than 300 supporters to an early morning address on the banks of the Atlantic Ocean.
``I intend to win New Hampshire,″ the Texas governor said. He promised a ``hopeful and optimistic″ message that promotes education reforms, a stronger military and a reformed Republican Party that stresses compassion as well as conservatism.
``I can’t stand the trash-mouthed politics of the past,″ he said.
Bush provided few specifics, a point seized upon by his critics.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Joe Andrew crashed Bush’s speech, pigeonholing reporters to accuse the Texas governor of refusing to detail his position on national issues. ``The governor from the Alamo state won’t take a stand,″ he said.
Andrew dubbed Bush ``Curious George″ because he said the governor’s positions are so vague. ``Nobody wants Curious George with his finger on the button,″ he said.
Andrew also shadowed Bush’s trip to Iowa on Saturday, underscoring how seriously the Democratic Party is taking his candidacy. No other GOP candidate is getting such attention.
Bush has the support of the state’s leading GOP politician, Sen. Judd Gregg. He was announcing the names of more than 180 local organizers today, along with the appointment of state public safety director Richard Flynn to be chairman of his coordinating committee. Flynn is the longest-serving state department head, long considered a behind-the-scenes powerbroker.
Bush apologized to New Hampshire voters for waiting so long for his first trip,, saying he promised Texans he would complete the state’s legislative session before campaigning for president.
``I hope you understand that I’m a man of my word,″ Bush said.
Bush took more than 20 minutes getting to the stage, slowly making his way through a crowd of supporters eager to grab his hand. Spotting a red-headed baby in the crowd, he shouted, ``I’ve always been a sucker for baby pictures,″ then took the child from his mother.
He kissed the baby in front of a group of photographers, then turned on request to pose for more cameras. ``Another kiss governor!″ one photographer yelled. Bush eagerly consented, and planted another kiss on the baby’s cheek.
Irma Pierce of Portsmouth, N.H., pulled Bush aside briefly and asked him to do something about the rising costs of long-term care. `I will,″ he replied.
She wasn’t satisfied with his answer.
``But at least it’s hopeful,″ she said. ``He needs to be formulating some plans.″
The Texas governor planned to visit an elementary school, conduct a news conference and address a women’s forum later today.
Bush announced Saturday in Iowa that there was ``no turning back″ from his bid for the GOP presidential nomination, in which he leads in the polls.
He and his wife, Laura, rested Sunday at the Bush family’s summer estate on the coast of Maine. With a promise to ``stay out of his way,″ former President Bush told reporters his son is prepared to follow his footsteps to the White House.
``I will stay out of the issue business in terms of the campaign,″ the elder Bush said. ``I had my chance.″
He said he might help raise money if asked by his son. But, he said, ``He doesn’t need a voice from the past.″