CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain returned to New Hampshire on Thursday for the first time in about a month, but couldn't spare time for the state's largest newspaper, an influential force among the group of voters he needs.
A scheduled meeting with the New Hampshire Union Leader's editorial board was canceled about an hour before it was to begin. There was disagreement over whether the meeting would be videotaped. The Union Leader typically allows filming of its meetings with presidential candidates; Cain's campaign refused to allow it.
The newspaper is an influential voice among New Hampshire conservatives.
The development came several days after Cain appeared to struggle to respond when questioned about Libya during an interview with a Milwaukee newspaper, which was videotaped and went viral after it was posted on the Internet.
Cain spokesman J.D. Gordon said the Union Leader canceled.
"We would like to do something with them in the future," he told The Associated Press.
Cain's trip was his first to the Granite State since a GOP candidates' debate about a month ago. Much has changed since then in what has been a rollercoaster race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. Cain briefly shot up in the polls, but has struggled to maintain momentum following allegations of sexual misconduct and questions about his preparedness.
"The thing that we are learning is that the more successful you are in your campaign, the more disciplined you have to be because there are even more demands on your time," Cain told The Associated Press.
The Georgia businessman had just one public event Thursday in the state, an afternoon rally. He spent much of the morning conducting interviews with local TV stations at a diner.
The Union Leader interview was scheduled last week and was to last at least an hour, according to Andrew Cline, the newspaper's editorial page editor. The paper typically allows C-SPAN to broadcast its meetings with presidential contenders.
Gordon conceded that the campaign tried to change the terms of the interview.
Late Wednesday, Cain's staff said he had only 20 minutes to spare. They also refused to allow videotaping.
"For editorial boards, videos are options and we decided not to pursue that option," Gordon said. "It's a newspaper."
On Monday, Cain stumbled while trying to answer a question about the U.S. role in Libya during a meeting with the editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. That interview was taped and later spread across the Internet.
Cain briefly addressed the Milwaukee incident on Thursday, telling the AP that he paused simply to gather his thoughts.
"They want people to think it was a mental lapse. If that's what they want to think, so be it. I know what it was," he said, describing it as "a powerful pause." ''You can look forward to some more powerful pauses."
Cain said he'd like to reschedule with the New Hampshire newspaper but doesn't know when he'll return to the state.
Joseph McQuaid, publisher of the Union Leader and an influential voice in New Hampshire Republican politics, suggested the canceled interview wouldn't significantly affect Cain's presidential campaign. Despite his brief rise in the polls, Cain has few formal endorsements, staffers or campaign infrastructure in states like New Hampshire that vote early in the nominating process.
"I don't think he's going anywhere from here at this point, anyway," McQuaid told the Union Leader.
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