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John DiStaso's Granite Status: 'Morning Joe' Scarborough joins NHGOP March conference lineup

By John DiStaso, Senior Political Reporter
February 14. 2014 11:32AM

FRIDAY, FEB. 14: 'MORNING JOE' IN NH. Another big name has been added to the New Hampshire Republican Party-hosted Northeast Republican Leadership Conference next month in Nashua.

We've learned former U.S. Rep. Joe Scarborough, long-time host of the "Morning Joe" talk show on MSNBC will host a first-in-the-nation primary panel during the second day of the two-day conference, on March 15.

Word of the Scarborough appearance comes just a day after he reaffirmed his interest in running for President in 2016.

He first floated the idea in 2012, and on Wednesday, when asked about it by radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt, Scarborough said, "I won't rule anything out.

"I've always said and I've always been open about the fact that the greatest job I ever had and the greatest honor I've ever had was being in the House of Representatives," the 50-year-old former Florida congressman said.

"It was an absolute thrill, and I had to get out because I had young children to raise and I wanted to be back home in Pensacola," he said. "I've always said I wanted to get back in. It's just a matter of time. We'll see what happens."

Scarborough will moderate a panel of Republican New Hampshire Primary veteran strategists featuring former Mitt Romney adviser Jim Merrill, former Rick Santorum campaign manager Mike Biundo, former Ron Paul campaign staffer Andy Demers and former Rick Perry adviser Paul Young, who also worked many years ago on Jack Kemp's campaign and is a former executive director of the NHGOP.

Scarborough joins a two-day lineup that includes Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, U.S. Rep. Pete King of New York, former Ambassador John Bolton, 2012 presidential candidate and former Pennsylvania Sen. Santorum and others.

Santorum, Jindal and King are also eyeing possible presidential campaigns and Bolton has also not ruled it out.

NHGOP chair Jennifer Horn called Scarborough "one of the most influential and important voices on television today. Joe isn't afraid to tell it like it is, and his refreshing brand of straight talk is extremely appealing to New Hampshire's politically astute and fiercely independent citizenry."

The party is promoting the event at

(See earlier Granite Status reports elsewhere on this page or by clicking on "Granite Status" above.)

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