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WMUR New Hampshire - McCain, Giuliani, Paul Officially Join Ballot

News Article

Location: Concord, NH

Three Republicans officially joined the Republican presidential primary ballot on Tuesday.

Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Ron Paul signed on the dotted line, saying they're ready to lead the nation.

Returning to the state with high hopes, McCain, the 2000 New Hampshire primary winner, wrote "He's BAAACK!" when he signed up.

"Come to my town hall meetings," McCain said. "You'll see I'm exactly the same. I haven't changed a single position. I'm not any different."

McCain said he's confident he has the most leadership ability, consistency and best resume to lead in a post-Sept. 11 world.

"My qualifications, I think, make me far more qualified," he said.

Two hours later, Giuliani gave his check and his signature, saying that he's the best pick.

"I've had the most executive experience of anyone running," Giuliani said.

The former New York mayor said he has shouldered the burden of protecting millions after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. He said mistakes in running the war in Iraq haven't changed his support for the war.

He also wouldn't engage in GOP bashing when challenged by national reporters.

"A long time ago, I was once asked to do a negative ad against John McCain in pretty intense circumstances, and I said, 'No how, no way,'" Giuliani said.

Signing up for the ballot the after Republicans threatened to punish New Hampshire for holding its primary so early, both men voiced support for keeping the state first in line no matter what.

Paul said that filing for the New Hampshire primary was humbling because the first-in-the-nation event is so historic.

He said he stands for civil liberties and limited government and said that much of the attention he's getting comes from young voters who are happy that he won't regulate or tax the Internet, and he'll uphold the Constitution.

"It makes me feel good," Paul said. "They believe in the rule of law. I never have a businessman that comes to Washington ... and say, 'Wow, I really love you because you defend the Constitution.' They want to bend the Constitution."

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