Brown's Lobster Pound owner Bruce Brown, left, hands a live lobster to former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson during a stop in Seabrook, New Hampshire on Wednesday, May 16, 2007. (Don Clark photo / SMG)
SEABROOK — Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson met local Republicans and diners at Brown's Lobster Pound Wednesday night, holding up a lobster before the cameras months before the traditional chowder stop for GOP presidential hopefuls.
Thompson made no speech. Accompanied by former New Hampshire Gov. Craig Benson, Thompson made his way around the room, pressing his plan to win peace in Iraq. Thompson supports having the Iraq government vote on whether it wants the U.S. to remain in the country. If the vote is no, he said, he would set a date for the troops to leave.
Thompson calls himself a "reliable conservative" and said he drasticallyreduced taxes in Wisconsin. He said he also started a "conservative revolution" in welfare reform and private school choice.
Benson said he had yet to choose a presidential candidate, but Thompson was good for New Hampshire while Benson was governor.
Those interviewed in the restaurant said it was too soon to decide on a candidate in the New Hampshire primary.
Jay Diener and his wife, Carolyn Fetter, of Hampton were among the few eating chowder at Brown's who turned out just to meet Thompson.
"He has some interesting ideas," said Diener. "We need to learn more about him."
"He presents himself well," said Fetter.
Blanche Bragg of Seabrook also came out to meet Thompson. "I'm not sure who I'm going to vote for," she said.
Local state Republican Reps. Ben Moore and Al Weare and former state Rep. Frank Palazzo were on hand to meet Thompson.
Brown said he was approached by the Thompson campaign to host the governor. Every two years, Brown, head of the local GOP, holds a rally and chowder fest in his restaurant. Every four years, it is well attended by Republican candidates for president. Brown will hold the next rally this fall.
"I feel like I've known you for a long time," said Thompson, greeting Brown.