Haines collects signatures in Square

PORTSMOUTH "I'm going to get bin Laden," said Robert Haines during a Saturday night stop in Market Square as part of his long-shot bid for the presidency. "I know where he is."

With a vintage gun belt slung over his seersucker slacks, an American flag protruding from the holster and a straw cowboy hat, Haines cut quite a figure in the gentrified downtown area. And that was before he began talking about how his wife, Barb, "was a 38-year-old virgin" when he met her, how he charges folks to take his picture and about the multiple times he's had to defend himself with a weapon, often leading to perjury by others.

The Republican also shared a lengthy story about the time he knelt on the chest of a would-be presidential assassin; he carries a stack of 1994 newspapers as evidence. He's thinking of donating the baby carriage he was pushing at the time to the Smithsonian, he told onlookers.

Haines has no Web site and no brochures, but on Saturday, he displayed a collection of paintings he made featuring the White House, George Washington praying at Valley Forge and Washington crossing the Patomic. He said he's been campaigning for 17 months "under the media radar screen."