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Angle keeps options open

Last modified: 2/26/2011 12:00:00 AM
Sharron Angle visited New Hampshire yesterday to promote a conservative Christian movie that was premiering in Hooksett.

Angle, a Tea Party favorite from Nevada who made waves when she challenged Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for his seat last year, made similar stops in Iowa and South Carolina.

At a press conference held in Concord yesterday morning, she explained that publicists for the movie believed that having political figures promote the movie in presidential primary states would attract more media coverage.

She was introduced by Jack Kimball, leader of the New Hampshire Republican Party, who gave a synopsis of her life, including her work as a teacher and member of the Nevada general assembly. When asked by reporters if she was considering running for president in 2012, Angle said that she is keeping her options open.

She said she embraced the movie, called the Genesis Code, which is about two college students exploring issues of evolution and creationism, because it offered a family-friendly entertainment option that examines issues important to many conservatives, including the teaching of creationism in school, discrimination against Christians on college campuses, and the ethics of using or ceasing life support in end-of-life care.

"Why can't we present both theories to our children and let them choose?" Angle said of creationism. She said that when she taught grade school, she taught children the "entire spectrum" of theories, including creationism and evolution.

Before the screening of the movie, Angle was the guest of honor at a reception at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester held by the Republican Liberty Caucus. Representatives for the caucus said that because of the snowstorm, only about 15 of the 50 people who paid the $20 fee to attend the reception showed up.

Angle spoke about the movie and its themes and then answered questions in a casual back-and-forth with attendees. Most questions centered on her challenge to Reid, which she lost.

Angle referred to Reid as "public enemy No. 1," and said that she considers herself a "fighter and warrior" for constitutional liberty. She chatted with guests about some main themes, including lower taxes and smaller government.

Of those in attendance, many were there out of curiosity.

"I'm not a die-hard Tea Party person," said Arthur Lewis, a Harvard economics student who drove to Manchester to see Angle. Lewis said his curiosity was piqued because of the race between Angle and Reid in November, and he was there to gather information and hear her speak about her experiences.

"I came more out of curiosity," said Bill Olender, a Manchester retiree who has worked on several political campaigns, including John McCain's.

"I'm more of a mainstream Republican. I wouldn't call myself a Tea Party guy by any means," he said.

Olender said he enjoyed getting to meet Angle and likes to take advantage of New Hampshire's position as a presidential primary state by getting out to meet politicians when they pass through.

Only about half the crowd intended to follow Angle to the movie after the reception.

Ed Lopez, a member of the Republican Liberty Caucus, said that while some Republicans identify strongly with the Christian social conservatism espoused by Angle, in New Hampshire, the main thrust is often fiscal issues, including lower taxation.

Lopez said he didn't personally identify as a Tea Party member, but that in the Republican Party, labels and alliances are in flux.

He believes the Tea Party's "social views are more diverse than many of its members would like to concede," but that in New Hampshire, those wanting smaller government may be willing to overlook the social conservatism of politicians like Angle because they agree so strongly with their fiscal conservatism.

(Tara Ballenger can be reached at 369-3306 or tballenger@cmonitor.com.)


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