EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

August 10, 2011

Bachmann postpones trip to New Hampshire

WINDHAM — Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann has pulled out of a trip to New Hampshire, forcing the postponement of a town hall-style forum planned for Sunday night in Windham.

"They were pretty closed mouth. They didn't explain," Windham GOP chairman Travis Blais said yesterday.

Bachmann's national press staff has attributed the postponement to travel issues.

The Salem and Windham Republican town committees were hosting the appearance by Bachmann, the congresswoman from Minnesota and Tea Party favorite who has emerged as the runner-up to Mitt Romney in recent New Hampshire polling.

Blais said the Bachmann campaign said she will be in New Hampshire soon after Labor Day.

"They said they would reschedule our event as a priority," he said.

The forum in Windham would have followed by one day a Republican straw poll in Iowa that is a key test for Bachmann.

Romney is sitting out that straw poll, though polling in Iowa indicates he still could do well. A Rasmussen poll last week had Bachmann at 22 percent, Romney at 21 percent.

GOP Congressman Ron Paul of Texas was at 16 percent and believed to be benefitting from the debt crisis in Washington. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has been making headway in Iowa, up to 12 percent and fourth in the Rasmussen poll.

Blais, meanwhile, approached aides to Texas Gov. Rick Perry about stopping in Windham on Sunday.

"I mean, hey, we already have the venue booked," Blais said.

But Perry's aides ruled that out yesterday because Perry has plans to be in Iowa on Sunday.

That's another sign that Perry is ready to jump into the race, something expected to happen as soon as Saturday in South Carolina. Perry also is scheduled in New Hampshire for a house party in Greenland on Saturday. That puts Perry on the ground in three early 2012 contest states this weekend.

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