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  • Staff photo by BOB HAMMERSTROM

    Rep. Peter Sylva, left, looks on as Speak of the House William O'Brien talks about the resignation of House Majority Leader A.J. Bettencourt during a press conference Tuesday, May 29, 2012, at the Statehouse in Concord.

  • Jeff Chamberlin, of Campton, holds up a sign during the Tea Party rally at the State House in Concord on Friday, April 15, 2011. Roughly 300 people attended the event where presidential hopefuls Rick Santorum, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, and Buddy Roemer also spoke. Chamberlin said, "Once you spend twice what you bring in and unborn generations are obligated to pay your debt, we're in a trap".

    (Katie Barnes/Monitor Staff)
Saturday, April 16, 2011

Possible White House hopefuls draw crowd at Statehouse rally

CONCORD – Four potential Republican presidential candidates talked tough on taxes and even tougher on President Barack Obama during the third annual Take Back America Rally on Friday.

About 300 people stood on a sun-splashed Statehouse plaza to celebrate the GOP victories of November and to dream about taking back the White House in 20 months.

“Do not stop to work for freedom and liberty. Did we have a good start in 2010?” former Senate candidate Ovide Lamontagne, of Manchester, asked the crowd, which cheered in the affirmative.

“It is just the beginning.”

The White House hopefuls stole the show, since all three Republican members of Congress missed the event because they were casting votes on Capitol Hill.

The four were former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer and businessman Herman Cain.

They made references to the Declaration of Independence and the state Constitution to assert that Obama’s brand of fiscal economics is bankrupting the economy.

Santorum noted that Obama won in 2008 because voters decided his “Yes we can” mantra appealed to an electorate that wanted a president in whom they could believe.

“Americans now realize what they need is a president who believes in them,” Santorum said.

The next election will answer the question of whether Americans overcome a “crisis of confidence” on what the Founding Fathers considered to be the reason for forming America, Santorum said.

“The purpose of America is not to create a great society, a great economy or a great military,” Santorum said. “The purpose of America is to keep you free so you can provide for yourself and those you love.”

Pawlenty accused Obama of repeatedly breaking faith with the American people, since, as a candidate, he vowed to cut the deficit in half, and as a senator, he had voted against raising the federal debt ceiling.

“Did President Obama break his promise with America? Yes, he did,” Pawlenty said. “He’s proven that someone can deserve a Nobel Peace Prize less than Al Gore.”

Pawlenty said that unlike fellow potential candidate Donald Trump, he doesn’t accuse Obama of being born outside the country.

“I am not going to question his birth certificate, but as I look at his policies, I wonder what planet he is from,” Pawlenty quipped.

Cain was the only one of the group to offer concrete tax reform: a one-year holiday from the 6.25 percent federal payroll tax for individuals and business owners.

“That’s how you stimulate the economy: Let the people keep what they earn,” Cain said. “What a novel idea.”

Cain said he wouldn’t be scared out of the race because Obama could raise as much as $1 billion for his re-election campaign.

“In the vernacular of my grandfather, I ain’t scared of nothing, including a billion dollars,” Cain said.

Roemer said he stands apart in the race as the only candidate who won’t take special-interest money or any donations in excess of $100.

“I am the only one running for president who challenges the special interests,” Roemer said. “The American Revolution was about a tea party, wasn’t it? I think it’s time for a second revolution.”

Only the multinational corporations and the powerful who have lobbyists working for them get breaks in the federal tax code, Roemer said.

“You are treated in the tax code like nobody gives a care about you,” he said. “The system is rigged; you don’t count. They laugh at you. I’ve heard them do it.”

The New Hampshire chapter of Americans for Prosperity sponsored the event.

Kevin Landrigan can be reached at 321-7040 or