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Granite Status: N.H. delegation to hear Netanyahu

DAN TUOHY
February 25. 2015 9:02PM

  • Would you welcome Donald Trump as a candidate in the 2016 GOP primary?
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The full New Hampshire congressional delegation will be on hand to hear Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he addresses Congress today, March 3.

Vice President Joe Biden and a number of Democrats in Congress announced they would boycott the speech based on House Speaker John Boehner's invite to Netanyahu without first running it by the White House.

President Barack Obama and Netanyahu have downplayed their differences, but underlined their positions on blocking Iran from acquiring a nuclear program. 

Members of the New Hampshire delegation, regarding the speech, have noted Israel is one of America's key allies.

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ON THE DOCKET: The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in King v. Burwell on March 4.

ONE OF THE MOST-READ New Hampshire Sunday News stories, by Tim Buckland: Gregg: Obama has failed as a leader at home, abroad. It is an interesting read, given that former U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg, R-NH, almost became a member of the Obama administration.

#FITN -- SEE THEM RUN:

Lindsey Graham plans NH stops -- The U.S. Senator from South Carolina will make his first visit to New Hampshire next week since launching his "Security Through Strength" committee to test the 2016 waters. Other possible presidential hopefuls in the state this week include former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and former HP CEO Carly Fiorina.

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(The Feb. 26 Granite Status column follows here:)

TRUMP HIRES Lewandowski as presidential run eyed 

Corey R. Lewandowski, a former director of voter registration at Americans for Prosperity, has been asked by real estate mogul Donald Trump to serve as senior political adviser and manager for a possible presidential campaign, according to the Washington Post.

Lewandowski is expected to coordinate Trump’s efforts in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary, as well as a national campaign if Trump were to enter the race.

Trump, famous for his real estate portfolio, hotels and TV show “The Apprentice,” has mulled a possible run for President before, without actually entering the race.

The Post quoted Trump as saying in a telephone interview that he was serious about running for the presidency in 2016 and that he would delay his television plans for next year.

If he did, Trump would join a crowd of Republicans considering White House runs, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

“Without knowing Domald Trump’s intentions, what I do know is that you don’t hire someone of Corey Lewandowski’s caliber and stature without some type of plan to explore the public process involved in a run,” said Greg Moore, state director for Americans For Prosperity New Hampshire. “Trump is very lucky to have signed on someone with Corey’s stature so early on.”

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PRIMARY CLASS

The Primary is the lesson in a unique online course offered by the University of New Hampshire this fall.

There are no prerequisites and everybody is invited. Oh, and it’s free.

“Anyone in the world can take it,” Andy Smith, executive director of the UNH Survey Center, says of “FIRST! Understanding New Hampshire’s Presidential Primary.”

Smith and Dante Scala, political science professor, are leading the class. It’s structured as a six-week course with videotaped lectures and interactive activities.

“The idea of the course — here we have the 100th anniversary of the New Hampshire Primary,” Smith says. “It’s an institution. People don’t know all the ins and outs. How it operates, basic things about it, the electorate.”

So class attendees will sponge up the guts of the first-in-the-nation primary. And they will do so as another classic edition of the lead-off presidential primary is in full swing.

“We are in the midst of putting it together,” Smith told Granite Status earlier this month.

He has taught courses on the Primary in the past three election cycles. He and Scala are interviewed by journalists from around the world about the New Hampshire Primary.

Still, they’ve not tackled anything quite like this before. For starters, the prep work is heavy. That includes taping upward of 100 episodes, each between 5 and 10 minutes long. They don’t anticipate completing the filming part until well into this summer.

“It’s like filming a documentary almost,” Smith says. “It’s just very different from any other course I’ve been involved with.”

Meg Heckman, a veteran journalist and journalism lecturer at UNH, is helping Scala and Smith as a kind of producer, as Smith describes it. UNH journalism students are lending a hand, too.

Dan Carchidi, associate director of IT Academic Technology at UNH, is another key player. He’s helped assemble “massive open online courses” before, but this is the first such “MOOC” at UNH.

Smith expects course participants to come from various backgrounds. Some may not know very much about the New Hampshire Primary and the presidential nominating process. Some, he expects, will be political junkies.

And some have already enrolled.

“Did I mention,” Smith adds again for emphasis, “that it is free?”

In other Primary news, Smith also has a new book coming out this fall with David Moore, an author and senior fellow with the Carsey Institute at UNH. Moore is a former political science professor and founder of the UNH Survey Center. The book title: “The First Primary: New Hampshire’s Out-size Role in Presidential Nominations.”

QUICK TAKES:

* Pet bill: The House laid on the table a bill to prohibit driving while holding an animal in the driver’s seat. The committee voted 10-8 to recommend passage. It would make having an animal in a driver’s lap a violation with a fine of $100. Yet Rep. Chris True, in the minority report against it, calls it a “nanny state” bill. “It is a slippery slope when we allow government to legislate common sense,” True writes.

* ICYMI: Dan Innis said he would be back in some fashion after losing the 1st District GOP nomination for Congress in 2014. As GOP Chairwoman Jennifer Horn announced earlier this week, Innis is now the party finance chair. “I look forward to working with everyone in the NHGOP and I am pleased to have the opportunity to contribute,” the former UNH business school dean said.

*Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore will speak to a “Politics and Potluck” event organized by the Strafford County Republican Committee in Dover on March 12.

*More Lincoln celebrations to come: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks to the Grafton County Lincoln-Reagan Dinner at the Indian Head Resort in Lincoln on March 15 and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is the keynote speaker at the Carroll County Lincoln Day Dinner at the Red Jacket Mountain View Resort in North Conway on March 20.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, returns to New Hampshire on March 2. He is scheduled to speak at the Grappone Center in Concord for the kickoff for the Campaign for Legal Services, a joint fundraising effort by the Legal Advice & Referral Center and New Hampshire Legal Assistance.

*Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina will attend a breakfast at Keene Country Club on Saturday, March 7, at 8 a.m. to discuss her life as a cancer survivor and business leader, her UP – Unlocking Potential Project, and her potential run for the presidency. The event is sponsored by the Cheshire County Republican Committee.

* The NH House last week passed a bill to authorize the Secretary of State to print a heading on the presidential primary ballot to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the New Hampshire Primary.

Dan Tuohy covers politics and government for the Union Leader and Sunday News. Email news and information to dtuohy@unionleader.com.


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