Jul 16, 2015 5:32 PM
"People have come to New Hampshire a political nobody, they have left as the nominee of their party. I think that can happen in my case.''
Graham is betting the nation’s focus on Iran, the war against ISIS and other global threats makes his national security experience a big selling card.
"I’m going to convince the people of New Hampshire in the Republican primary you’d better pick a commander in chief who knows what the hell they are doing,'' Graham says after touring Macy's Industries in Hooksett, a metal works machine shop.
Graham’s mentor, Arizona Senator John McCain knows all about rolling the dice on New Hampshire. All but broke eight years ago next month, McCain came to the state to declare that it was win here or die.
"John McCain taught the world in 2008 you can have a campaign focused with a tip of the spear on New Hampshire and make headway,'' said Greg Moore, state director of Americans for Prosperity and a former GOP strategist.
But unlike Graham, at that time McCain was already a past primary winner. Meanwhile the political graveyard is littered with those who went all in here and failed like Democrat Joe Lieberman who finished fifth in 2004 and Republican Jon Huntman last time who flamed out after coming in third.
Bill Fisher of Stratham believes it still’s possible with little money and less name recognition to strike it rich here.
"I think New Hampshire is a state that’s really open to all folks from all walks of notoriety and so forth," Fisher said.
So what trade secret did McCain whisper in his pal Graham’s ear?
"No BS when it comes to New Hampshire,'' Graham concluded. "People want a straight answer to a hard question and they don’t always care whether you agree with them."
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