Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman encountered each other an Independence Day parade today in Amherst, NH, but the former governors exchanges pleasantries instead of barbs. Meanwhile, GOP candidates Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich also followed the same parade route in Clear Lake, Iowa, albeit with 20 or so floats between them.
|Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman keep things cordial before stepping out in the Fourth of July parade in Amherst, N.H., today. (Getty Images Photo)
Former Massachusetts Gov. Romney arrived at the Amherst parade at the last minute, according to The Washington Post’s Washington Wire blog
Romney thanked his supporters and parade officials before walking to Huntsman’s section, the blog reported.
“Welcome to New Hampshire,” Romney said to the former Utah governor, who returned the welcom.
Romney then hugged Huntsman’s wife, Mary Kaye. After telling Jon Huntsman that New Hampshire must be nicer than Beijing, where Huntsman was President Barack Obama's ambassadore until recently, he returned to his own supporters.
If Romney and Huntsman were running for the good-guy vote, some might call it a tie. “Romney and Huntsman both seem like good guys,” said Donni Hodgkins, who led the Amherst Republican Committee float with her husband.
|Rep. Michele Bachmann waves druing the Fourth of July parade in Clear Lake, Iowa. (AP Photo)
In Clear Lake, immortalized in history as the site of Buddy Holly's last concert before his fatal plane crash on Feb. 2, 1959, Minnesota Rep. Bachmann jogged along the parade route in 2-inch heels, while Gingrich ambled along at a more leisurely place later in black loafers.
A Fourth of July parade is the perfect occasion for a politician to catch people in a jovial mood, Gingrich told Jennifer Jacobs of The Des Moines Register’s Iowa Caucuses blog
during the car ride to his next event.
“People are just glad you came,” Gingrich said. “There’s a certain advantage both Michele and I got today just by being here.”
“Did there seem to be enough support to proceed?” Jacobs quoted Gingrich as telling reporters after the parade. “I just wish all the guys in Washington would come out and walk one parade with me and go to one town hall meeting with me. I think they’d have a different attitude.”
|Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich works the Clear Lake crowd. (AP Photo)
Both Bachmann and Gingrich declined to discuss how much money they’ve raised for their campaigns in the recent quarter, Jacobs wrote.
Bachmann, the House Tea Party Caucus founder who announced her candidacy in her hometown of Waterloo, Iowa, last week, is neck and neck with Romney at the top of a recent Iowa Poll of likely GOP caucusgoers, while Gingrich is 15 points behind them.
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