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August 28. 2012 3:16PM

As the Republican National Convention begins:

Obama camp releases list of current, former NH Republicans backing the President

MANCHESTER -- As the Republican National Convention convened in Tampa Tuesday, President Barack Obama's New Hampshire campaign released the names of more than 90 current and several former Republicans for Obama.

The latest statewide poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire for WMUR television, released in mid-July, showed that 86 percent of New Hampshire Republicans supported Romney and 10 percent backed Obama.

But the campaign insisted that Republicans across the state oppose “the extreme platform of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.”

The Obama campaign “is competing for each and every vote,” said Harrell Kirstein, campaign spokesman, noting that last week, Obama made an appearance in the heavily Republican town of Windham.

He said that this week, the campaign is organizing 200 phone banks and canvasses across the state, in which Republicans will participate.

Kirstein said more than 90 of the 98 people on the list are currently registered Republicans.

The list of includes former Ronald Reagan appointee, 1980 George H.W. Bush campaign finance chair and 200 George W. Bush state co-chair Hilary Cleveland, who has supported Democrats in the past, including Gov. John Lynch, congressional candidate Ann Kuster in 2010 and presidential candidates Howard Dean, and later, John Kerry, in 2004.

NHGOP chairman Wayne MacDonald downplayed the announcement.

“We recognize there will be some who will stray, but for anyone who believes in the Republican principles of limited government and fiscal responsibility, I can't imagine any Republican supporting Barack Obama,” he said.

“To call themselves Republicans and support Obama sort of amazes me, but it's a free country,” he said.

Salem registered Republicans Bernard Geaghan and Tammy Perron spoke on a Obama campaign conference call,.

Geaghan called Obama intelligent and thoughtful, and said, “The dogmatic, 'no-compromise' rhetoric coming out of the Republican Party recently has just turned me off.”

He said a “balanced” approach to addressing the deficit “seems more reasonable to me than more tax cuts for millionaires.”

Perron said that as a mother of three, she believes that “when it comes to women's health, today's Republican party is just plain backwards.”

She said that Romney “promised to get rid of funding for Planned Parenthood, a vital health care provider for thousands of Granite State women.” And, she said, “Ryan has co-sponsored 38 anti-choice measures and was a co-sponsor of congressman Todd Akin's controversial forcible rape legislation.

“The people gathered in Tampa this week, especially Mitt Romney, don't represent the Republican Party I grew up with,” said Perron.

Both said they did not vote in the GOP presidential primary.

Former state Sen. Rick Russman of Kingston is a longtime moderate Republican who has backed Democrat Lynch but said he voted for Ron Paul in the 2012 GOP presidential primary.

Russman said he especially supports Obama's stances on environmental protection and what he called women's health issues.

“President Obama has refused to let corporate polluters play by a different set of rules than everyone else,” Russman said.

While Obama is making “smart investments” in clean energy production, the Romney approach “is so old-school. They want us to drill our way to energy independence, they want to cut funding for advanced energy research. They want to roll back important restrictions on toxic pollutants, which is going in the wrong direction.”

He also said Romney's approach to women's health issues is “turning the clock back.”

MacDonald said the list includes “a few people who have been involved in the party over the years but for the most part these are not well-known activists and certainly not well-known contributors to the party.

“These are not major Republicans," he said. "These are Republicans the Democrats have managed to dredge up and get to sign on.

“I'm not concerned by that. It was a clever move but I don't think a very effective one.”

Republicans in Tampa on Tuesday released a video with a handful of purported Democrats who now support Romney.

Meanwhile, the Obama campaign said it will host several events on Wednesday under the theme “Romney-Ryan: Wrong for Women.”

Women's rights activist Sandra Fluke will featured at events in Nashua, Concord, at the University of New Hampshire and in Meredith, while Sen. Jeanne Shaheen will launch a “Women for Obama” phone bank in Portsmouth.

Shaheen emailed a petition to supporters today they “demand Republican abandon their radical abortion stance.”


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