Gilmore tells NH1 News Senate GOP letter to Iran wasn't 'constructive'
HAMPTON - Jim Gilmore says if he was in the U.S. Senate, he wouldn't have joined the 47 Republican senators who sent a controversial letter to Iran that appeared to try and thwart a potential deal between President Barack Obama and Tehran over that country's nuclear program.
"No. As I understand that letter was a direct communication to the Iranians and said that any agreement with the President was possibly null and void. I don't think that's constructive. I don't think I would have done that," the former Virginia governor and possible GOP 2016 presidential hopeful told NH1 on Friday morning.
"But I do think that we need to send a strong message not only to the Iranians but to the people of the world that America's resolute, that we stand for liberty and our values and also for the national security of the American people. And that has to be affirmatively stated. But I don't think that letter is the way I would have gone," Gilmore added.
Many of the probable Republican White House contenders have been supportive of the letter sent by the GOP senators.
"I think the Republicans who signed that were spot on," former Texas Gov. Rick Perry told NH1 on Thursday.
Gilmore spoke to NH1 minutes before mingling with GOP activists at a Rockingham County Republican Committee Breakfast at Lamie's Old Salt on Route 1 in Hampton. The stop was part of a jam-packed two day swing through the first-in-the-nation primary state that also included a lunch with Belknap County Republicans in Meredith, a roundtable with students at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, and a keynote speech at the Strafford County Republican Committee's "Politics and Potluck" event.
Gilmore also held private meetings with Rep. Frank Guinta, former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, state Sen. Andy Sanborn, as well as other GOP leaders and activists.
This is Gilmore's third trip to the Granite State since the end of January. But he says it's far too early for him to decide on making a White House bid.
"It's premature to worry about that right now. It's just a chance to get around and see the people of New Hampshire that are so influential in the selection of the candidates, and it's a chance to talk over the issues and find out the receptivity of my message. And my message is the growth of the economy, getting people back to work, better jobs, better wages, and the national security of this country. And getting away from this pull back type attitude that President Obama and Hillary Clinton have displayed over the last number of years and making sure we affirmatively shape things to the safety of the American people," Gilmore said.
A former Army intelligence officer who was stationed in Germany during the Cold War, Gilmore served as Virginia governor from 1998 to 2002. Gilmore came close to running for the White House in the 2008 cycle. He launched a presidential exploratory committee in December 2006, but he called it quits in the summer of 2007, citing fundraising difficulties. (He also lost the 2008 Senate election in Virginia by double digits to another former governor, Democrat Mark Warner.)
If he does launch a presidential campaign this time around, Gilmore would once again be considered a very longshot.
Gilmore says he'll return soon to New Hampshire, adding "I'm having a great time up here. And you know sooner or later the snow's going to melt. And then I'm going to have even more fun getting around seeing people."