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April 20. 2012 11:16PM

Ayotte vows continues fight for conservative values


Sen. Kelly Ayotte received recognition as the Conservative of the Year at an event at the Grappone Center in Concord Friday night. Senator Ayotte and her husband Joe Daley talk with Ray Wieczorek before the evening honors. (BRUCE TAYLOR / UNION LEADER)
CONCORD — Conservatives will have to work harder in 2012 than they did during the Republican sweeps of numerous federal and state elections in 2010, U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., said Friday at an awards ceremony in her honor.

Ayotte, who was presented with the Americans For Prosperity Foundation's Conservative of the Year Award, literally rolled up her sleeves during her acceptance speech to say she is willing to put in the work to keep Republicans and conservatives in office.

“I do not want to wake up on Nov. 7 and find out Barack Obama has another term as President,” said Ayotte, who has endorsed former Massachusetts Gov. and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. “New Hampshire matters in the presidential election. We are a swing state.”

Ayotte, who said she was “deeply honored” by the award, said she would “continue to fight” for conservative fiscal policies.

“If we don't get this right, if we don't get the country on the right path and get our country in fiscal order, I'm so fearful for what can happen to this country,” she said.

U.S. Sen John Thune, R-S.D., presented the award to Ayotte and said President Obama has failed as a leader, citing Obama's recent exchange with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he would have “more flexibility” to discuss missile defense after the upcoming election. The presidents were unaware that their conversation was being picked up by microphones.

“Leadership matters,” Thune said, referring to former President Ronald Reagan's 1987 challenge to former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall” in reference to the Berlin Wall.

Thune said there is “no doubt” that Obama inherited a bad economy.

“But his policies have made things much, much worse,” Thune said. “What we are headed for in this country is a train wreck if we don't make some changes.”

The event, which doubled as a fundraiser for the conservative Americans For Prosperity Foundation, also featured speeches by Republican gubernatorial candidates Kevin Smith and Ovide Lamontagne, who narrowly lost a Republican primary contest against Ayotte in 2010.

“I had the opportunity to spend some time with the honoree in 2010,” Lamontagne said. “I am so proud to be able to call Kelly Ayotte my U.S. senator. And who knows, maybe next year we'll be talking about Vice President Ayotte.”

Lamontagne received the Foundation's award last year.

In a Fox News interview after receiving Ayotte's endorsement last November, Romney mentioned Ayotte as one of several possible running mates.

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