Activists show support for candidatesBy DAN TUOHY
New Hampshire Union Leader
June 13. 2011 10:46PM
GOFFSTOWN - They traded political slogans and shouted themselves hoarse: Life, liberty, megaphone.
Hours before the first elbow was thrown in the New Hampshire Republican presidential debate Monday night, a small army of activists stood outside and debated the state of the union themselves.
New Hampshire Primary-1, Consensus-0.
Waving a Michele Bachmann sign, Cynthia Bruneaux said the country needs a fiscal conservative in the White House.
'I would like to have them talk about getting our country back on track,' she said. 'We need somebody who stops the wasteful spending.'
David Dalrymple, a Republican from Salem, held aloft a large 'Mitt' sign.
'He's a natural leader. He's a proven businessman,' he said of the former Massachusetts governor.
Dalrymple said he did not know how the Bay State's health care law would affect his candidate's chances. But he maintains that it is a matter for states to decide, not the federal government.
As the crowd grew, a chant went up, 'Obamacare! Romneycare! Obamacare! Romneycare!'
Claire Helfman, a Democrat from Hollis, stood among conservative Republicans, as well as Democrats poking fun at the GOP hopefuls.
Her No. 1 issue, she said, is to preserve Medicare.
'The Ryan plan is abysmal,' she said. 'If seniors are left with a voucher to get their own insurance, they basically (will become) uninsurable.'
Steve Goddu, a Republican from Salem, said he became a Herman Cain supporter after meeting him in Hampstead this spring.
'The man is dynamic,' he said. 'He's real. I think he's a man of the people.'
Goddu said the debate will give Cain additional national exposure and give him a bump in public opinion polls in New Hampshire.
Andy Bridge of Amherst, who recently had breakfast with Rick Santorum, said America is in trouble, partly for veering away from the Constitution.
'We're facing a direct attack on our personal liberties,' he said. 'We need to get back to a smaller, limited government.'
Bridge said that the New Hampshire presidential primary still amazes him. He shrugged and said: 'Where else but New Hampshire can you meet all the candidates?