At Stratham Chili Fest, GOP Candidates Make Their Cases

Sep 13, 2015

It was a history making day - at least for Seacoast Republican Women President Jo Horvath. "For the first time in the history of the Chili Fest," she told the crowd, "we have run out of chili."

Horvath and other GOP supporters were hopeful this was a sign of enthusiasm for the party's large field of presidential hopefuls, some of whom took part in the annual fundraiser at the Stratham farm of Doug and Stella Scamman.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina noted that she'd been drawing a higher level of attention from grassroots Republicans in recent weeks, but said there were many who weren't ready to commit to a single candidate. "Wherever I am on your list," she said, "go ahead and admit it that in your heart of hearts, every one of you want to see me debate Hillary Clinton." After the crowd applauded, she added, "And you know there's only one way that happens." 

Fiorina, like the other candidates who spoke, gave an abbreviated version of her stump speech. She said the country's "professional political class" had made government inefficient and ineffective for citizens, and she vowed to let Iran's leaders know that, if elected, she would set new conditions for Iran's leaders regarding its nuclear program: 

"Until you open every nuclear and military facility to real, anytime, anywhere inspections by our people, not yours, the United States of America will make it as difficult as possible for you to move money around the global financial system," Fiorina said. "We don't need anyone's permission to do it; we don't need anyone's collaboration to do it. I will do it, because we must cut off the money." 

Security was on the mind of former New York governor George Pataki, who reminded the crowd that he was in office when the 9/11 attacks took place. He proposed a stronger military response to terrorist groups like ISIS. "We need to arm and support those on the ground who are fighting ISIS. We're not doing enough to help them," Pataki said. "If need be, we need to send in special ops, destroy [the ISIS] training centers and planning hubs - kill them there before they have a chance to come here." 

In his speech, Ohio Governor John Kasich described himself as "both an insider and an outsider... I've been a reformer all my career, but I know how to turn the dials to get things done." Kasich said he would shift power out of Washington and to "where we all live," and used an airplane metaphor to encourage voters to look beyond frustration and anger as they considered candidates: 

"I know so many of us are frustrated," Kasich added. "But at the end of the day, we've got to hire somebody who can land the plane. We don't want to crash the plane - I've landed a lot of planes and most of the passengers have been pretty happy." 

Fiorina campaigns in the state again Sunday. South Carolina US Senator Lindsay Graham and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie are also set to hold events in New Hampshire.