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October 30. 2011 9:58PM

Goat gives Huntsman a nip

Izak the goat's first campaign event was in April, when he met former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in Dover. He's shown here with his owner, Bill Higgins. (CLYNTON NAMUO PHOTO)

DOVER — Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman got a bit of a gruff reception here Sunday when a goat nibbled on his knee outside an event at city hall.

Izak was simply “taste-testing” Huntsman’s pants, goat owner Bill Higgins said.

“You could say it was a friendly nibble,” said Higgins, of Dover.

The bite didn’t injure Huntsman or even damage his pants, Higgins said, and the presidential contender took the entire thing in stride.

“It was just enough to make him chuckle,” Higgins said of Huntsman. “When he left, he came over and shook my hand and patted Izak.”

Izak is the successor to Binx, Higgins’s former goat, who was a common sight at campaign events for years.

Binx met John McCain, John Edwards and Howard Dean and he was on a first-name basis with former President George H.W. Bush, who saw him at fairs near his home in Kennebunkport, Maine.

Binx died in January 2010. Higgins got Izak 16 months ago.

In that time, Izak has slowly dipped his foot into the political waters, though he may need to take a course on manners.

“He hasn’t really figured out the campaigning thing yet, but he’s working on it with my help,” Higgins said.

Izak’s first taste of presidential politics came in April, when he met former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Gingrich made a bee-line to Izak as soon as he showed up for the April event at the Orchard Street Chop House.

On Sunday, Huntsman did the same thing, Higgins said. Huntsman had met Izak once before at an event in Newmarket, Higgins said.

“He got right out of his truck and said, ‘Hi Izak, how are you,’” Higgins said. “I was shocked he remembered his name.”

Higgins said Izak must have been in a mouthy mood Sunday, because he also nibbled Huntsman campaign signs.

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