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3 Republican hopefuls woo Wyoming

September 30, 2007|From the Associated Press

CASPER, WYO — . -- Three presidential candidates on Saturday courted Republican leaders from across Wyoming, which has scheduled the nation's first nominating vote.

Former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.), Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) are trailing in polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, which traditionally have the earliest nominating contests. But the three are hoping to claim Wyoming. The state's GOP last month moved its delegate-selection conventions to Jan. 5 -- earlier than the votes in Iowa and New Hampshire -- in violation of national GOP guidelines. It risks sanctions for doing so.

"I want to tell you how good it is to be in the Cheneys' home state," Thompson told the crowd. Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne, both grew up in Casper.

All three candidates promised to stay the course in Iraq.

"We have got to send a signal that we will do whatever is necessary -- to send a message to the rest of the world that we will stand tall, stand firm, stand united," Thompson said.

Hunter said the United States needed to build up manufacturing to prevent overreliance on foreign companies for military equipment parts. "I'm one presidential candidate who cares about restoring the industrial base in this country," he said.

Each candidate took a hard stance against China. "I believe in free trade," Brownback said. "But you have to have partners on the other side who follow the rules. The Chinese are not following the rules."

Brownback and Hunter spoke about their antiabortion views. Hunter said any federal judicial nominee of his would have to be able to say that a sonogram of a fetus was the image of a human being. Brownback said he wanted to appoint the Supreme Court justice who would cast the deciding vote to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

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