MANCHESTER, N.H. — Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota, was making the soft sell.
He lavished praise on a colleague, Kelly Ayotte, and her home, New Hampshire. He recounted his visits to the state in 2012. And, to a rapt crowd, he channeled another senator with a winning Granite State record.
“A lot of senators look in the mirror and see a future president, which is why you’re so bombarded with people up here,” he explained to knowing chuckles. “And John McCain always says, the only thing that cures that is embalming fluid.”
The group of about 50 people at a June fund-raiser loved it. But when Thune stepped outside, passersby didn’t give him a second glance.
He is no Chris Christie, the New Jersey governor who swept into New Hampshire last month and campaigned for a GOP gubernatorial hopeful, surrounded by news media. He’s no Marco Rubio, the Florida senator who wowed Granite State Republican activists speaking about the American dream in May. And he’s no Rand Paul, the Kentucky senator who made the rounds at a “Freedom Summit” here in April, rallying the base.
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