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Sununu set to endorse Romney today in N.H.

By Shira Schoenberg
Globe Correspondent / October 24, 2011

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Former New Hampshire governor John H. Sununu will endorse Mitt Romney today. The Romney campaign said Sununu will serve as chairman of his national steering committee.

Sununu will endorse Romney in Concord, N.H., where the former Massachusetts governor will file his papers to become an official presidential candidate.

“I am deeply appreciative of Governor Sununu’s friendship and support,’’ Romney said in a statement. “Governor Sununu is one of the most respected public servants in New Hampshire, and he has stood for the values that are important to Granite Staters: hard work, individualism, and fiscal responsibility. His advice and counsel will be important as I work to earn support from voters in the Granite State and work to fix our troubled economy.’’

Sununu told the Globe that three things made up his mind: Romney’s commitment to cutting spending and cutting taxes; his decision to keep Massachusetts out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which would have instituted a cap and trade policy for greenhouse gases; and his speech at the Citadel in South Carolina on foreign policy, where Romney talked about strengthening America’s military.

“We’ve basically depleted our assets in Iraq and Afghanistan,’’ Sununu said. “If we want to maintain our role as trying to stabilize the world, we have to have our strength.’’

Sununu served three terms as New Hampshire governor in the 1980s and was White House chief of staff under President George H. W. Bush.

He took over as chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party in 2009 and stayed on through the 2010 elections, when Republicans won all the open congressional seats and took control of the state Legislature. He is considered one of the most influential voices in New Hampshire politics.

Romney is leading in all the New Hampshire polls and has been sweeping up endorsements from powerful Granite Staters, including former US Senator Judd Gregg.

Bachmann would keep troops in Iraq past 2012

Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann said yesterday that the United States should keep troops in Iraq past the end of this year - even as she acknowledged that the conditions under which the Iraqis might allow that would be untenable.

Bachmann also suggested that Iraq should pay back the United States for leading the war, which deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. “Iraq should reimburse the US fully for the amount of money we spent to liberate these people,’’ she said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.’’ “They are not a poor country.’’

In appearances on “Fox News Sunday’’ and the CBS program, the Republican presidential candidate criticized President Obama’s plan to withdraw troops by the end of the year.

Bachmann said the United States spent more than $800 billion and lost 4,400 American lives and has nothing to show for it. The war also caused thousands of Iraqi deaths and threw the country into upheaval.

“We’ve been kicked out of Iraq by the people we expended our blood, treasure, and toil to liberate,’’ she said.

Historically, Bachmann said, the United States has always left troops behind to secure the peace after any conflict. She said it should do the same in Iraq, to ensure that Iran does not exert its influence there.

But asked by CBS host Bob Schiefer whether a president could leave American soldiers in Iraq on the conditions that have been set by the Iraqis - that the American soldiers would have no immunity from arrest - Bachmann responded, “Of course not. No president could.’’

Both Bachmann and Rick Santorum, her rival for the Republican nomination, said the conditions set by Iraq show Obama’s failure to gain respect.

“To be in a position where the Iranians have more sway over the Iraqi government than us shows the weakness of our diplomatic effort,’’ said Santorum, who also appeared on “Face the Nation’’ yesterday.