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Monday, August 27, 2012

Obama campaign to release list GOP supporters

While leading New Hampshire Republicans convene in Florida to nominate Mitt Romney, President Barack Obama’s campaign in the Granite State will showcase local Republicans defecting to support him.

The state Obama for America campaign will release regional lists of about 75 Republicans from across New Hampshire endorsing Obama’s re-election, The Telegraph learned.

The New Hampshire GOP defectors from Romney include former state Sen. Rick Russman, of Kingston, and Hillary Cleveland, of New London. Both are political moderates.

In 2010, they supported the re-election of Gov. John Lynch, the four-term Democrat who isn’t seeking a fifth term this fall.

Cleveland was New Hampshire finance chairman for former President George H.W. Bush’s presidential campaign. The late President Ronald Reagan named her to the national Advisory Council on Continuing Education, and she’s the widow of Congressman James Cleveland.

Granvyl Hulse, former Republican town chairman of Colebrook, said he was proud to promote the party’s ticket in other presidential elections, but not this one.

“As the Colebrook Republican town chairman I fought like hell to elect Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, but when I look at today’s Republican Party, I’m ashamed to say I used to support it,’’ Hulse said.

“Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s plan to cut taxes for millionaires while making middle-class families pay more won’t help our economy and it won’t win my vote. Furthermore, I respect women too much to even think about supporting a party that treats them as second-class citizens with no control over their health.’’

The high-profile event of this strategy will be Wednesday, when Georgetown Law School student Sandra Fluke comes to New Hampshire to speak with independent and Republican women about abortion rights.

Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh touched off a firestorm of sponsor protest when he called Fluke a “slut’’ and a “prostitute’’ for complaining that the school’s religious affiliation meant women didn’t have contraception coverage under health care.

Fluke already has a prominent speaking role planned at the Democratic National Convention when it meets next week in Charlotte, N.C.

“The choice in this election couldn’t be more clear,’’ said Holly Shulman, communications director for Obama’s New Hampshire campaign.

“While Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are highlighting their extreme agenda that will replace Medicare with vouchers, cut taxes for millionaires while the middle class will get a tax hike and turn the clock back for women, the Obama campaign in New Hampshire will be reaching out to Republicans across the state.

“From Pittsburg to Pelham and Littleton to Milton, supporters are going door to door talking to Republicans, independents and Democrats because they know how much is at stake.”

Romney campaign adviser Jim Merrill recently said intensity of support for Romney among Republicans is stronger in New Hampshire than it is of Democrats for Obama.

“We’ve been building momentum among core Republicans through the New Hampshire primary and it’s just grown and grown over time,’’ Merrill said. “They’ve had to have dozens of paid staffers on the ground for months just to get their base excited about the president again.’’

U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., said Romney’s selection of Ryan as his running mate has ignited even more enthusiasm for the ticket among fiscal and social conservatives here.

Other parts of the Obama effort here this week will be to host 200 phone banks and canvasses across the state.

Kevin Landrigan can reached at 321-7040 or klandrigan@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Landrigan on Twitter (@Klandrigan).