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Political Notebook

N.H. voters want to see more of Bachmann

August 30, 2011

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Few would be surprised if Karen Testerman endorsed Michele Bachmann for president.

Testerman is a former Republican gubernatorial candidate in New Hampshire, a social conservative who spearheaded a campaign to preserve traditional marriage.

Bachmann, a Republican presidential candidate and favorite of the Tea Party movement, has a long history of opposing gay marriage. Both women are strong fiscal and social conservatives.

“She’s very much on the top of my No. 1 list,’’ Testerman said.

Nonetheless, despite hosting Bachmann in her home for a Memorial Day event, Testerman has not committed to the Minnesota congresswoman.

“She has not been here for two months and it’s not looking positive,’’ Testerman said. “It’s disconcerting that someone who has such potential would think about skipping New Hampshire.’’

As most Republican candidates barnstorm the Granite State seeking votes in the first-in-the-nation primary, Bachmann has been campaigning in Iowa, South Carolina, and Florida.

On Memorial Day, Bachmann told reporters in New Hampshire that she considered the state very important.

But her last visit was June 28, the day after she formally announced her candidacy. She canceled a visit in August.

While her campaign insists Bachmann will visit next month, her early absence could cost her votes.

“It’s obvious from her actions that she hasn’t made a priority of New Hampshire and the New Hampshire primary process,’’ said Andrew Hemingway, chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire, a Libertarian-leaning Republican group.

Bachmann has strategic reasons for using her resources elsewhere.

She has strong appeal among social conservatives and evangelical Christians - groups that are mainstays of the Republican parties in Iowa and South Carolina. New Hampshire Republicans tend to be less religious and more socially moderate.

Bachmann also has little infrastructure in New Hampshire, with no campaign office and just four paid staffers.

The Bachmann campaign, meanwhile, was tamping down a mini tempest over comments the candidate made in Florida on Sunday.

“I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians,’’ the St. Petersburg Times quoted her as telling voters during a rally in Sarasota. “We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’ Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we’ve got to rein in the spending.’’

A spokeswoman said Bachmann’s equating Hurricane Irene with a political message from God was done in jest.

— Shira Schoenberg

Romney says Calif. home is doubling, not quadrupling Mitt Romney has a clarification for those tweaking him for planning to quadruple the size of his oceanfront home in California. It’s only doubling in size if you count normal living space.

That was the answer reported over the weekend by Joe McQuaid, publisher of the Union Leader in Manchester, N.H.

He described seeing Romney last week at a famed political haunt, the Red Arrow Diner, and asking at one point what the Republican presidential contender thought of the story - and the dozens of spinoffs it spawned - about his home expansion.

“It’s not accurate, Romney said, simply,’’ according to McQuaid. “The application he made, two years ago, was to double the living space by turning one story into two. The ‘quadrupling’ was a measurement of added nonliving space, including a basement and garage.’’

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Aug. 20 that Romney planned to bulldoze his 3,009-square-foot, single-story home in coastal La Jolla and replace it with a two-story, 11,062-square-foot structure.

In that story, a Romney aide declined to comment. Later, as the former Massachusetts governor began to face criticism over the project, Romney aides clarified that the project would not begin until after the 2012 election.

Last Wednesday, Romney addressed the issue with reporters, reiterating: “I’ve got 16 grandkids and counting. We’re going to have enough accommodations to meet the needs of our grandkids.’’

In his “Publisher’s Notebook,’’ McQuaid recounted the additional explanation Romney provided, about living space vs. nonliving space.

The Romney campaign declined to comment, but real estate professionals would tend to back up the candidate.

In sales and listing documents, brokers report “gross living area,’’ typically those finished spaces above grade. Even a finished basement is not usually included in that calculation.

— Globe Staff