The following is the text of a statement by House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt given today at a Concord press conference where Republican leaders spoke in support of to efforts to defend New Hampshire's First in the Nation Primary. A link to a video of the press conference is also included.
“I appreciate and thank all of the candidates who have chosen to stand with New Hampshire in support of the First in the Nation primary. It has become an important part of our heritage. For more than a half century New Hampshire citizens have played an important role in the process to elect our President. When citizens across this great country think of New Hampshire they think of many things. They do doubt think of the Old Man of the Mountains and the First in the National Primary.
Unfortunately we lost one of them to Mother Nature a few years ago....but we intend to fight to hold on to the other. Candidates appreciate the fact that tar-mac politics just don't exist in New Hampshire. Our citizens expect presidential candidates to look them square in the eye and be ready to answer the tough questions.
I am sure you have all heard the story of the New Hampshire farmer who, when asked if he were supporting a certain candidate, paused for a moment and replied, 'I don't know, I haven't met him yet." We have earned the right to be the first in the nation, we thank those candidates for President, both past and present, who have stood with us in our fight. And we look forward to maintaining our first in the nation status for many years to come."
A link to a video of the press conference is also included: http://youtu.be/ftzgTGqeo5Y