Spin Cycle

News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics.

Rep. Peter King went back to school in Boston Friday, spending the afternoon learning the nuts and bolts of a presidential campaign from a top adviser in Mitt Romney’s unsuccessful run for the White House last year and the former chairwoman of the Massachusetts GOP.

King, the 11-term Seaford Republican, said he discussed the “basics” and “practical politics” of a run for president - something he says he's considering- in meetings with Peter Flaherty, one of three top Romney advisers, and former GOP party official Jennifer Nassour.

“I am putting a lot of effort into this,” King told WMUR TV “CloseUp” morning news show in Manchester, N.H., where he started the day before heading to Boston.

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Nassour said she urged King to get out more to meet people, especially in the early presidential caucus state of Iowa. 

She said she also counseled him not to move too much to the right for the primary - something that some analysts say hurt Romney in the general election.  

And she advised him to transcend being a regional candidate, to make his appeal stretch from Massachusetts to California. 

Most political analysts and pundits call King a long shot because he’s not known nationally, he’s not a strong fundraiser and a congressman has not become president in more than a century. King also has made controversial remarks, notably about American Muslims.

But in Massachusetts, Nassour said, “People are generally interested in him running for president.”

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Nassour lunched with King, his daughter and de facto campaign aide Erin, and King’s brother, at the Omni Parker House Hotel, across the street from Boston’s old City Hall. 

Nassour has deep Long Island roots and a history with the Nassau County Republican Committee, where King rose to prominence.

A native of Garden City, Nassour was a legislative aide for State Senator Kemp Hannon and chief of staff for Nassau County Legislator Vincent Muscarella. 

Nassour said King brings the qualities that others in the potential Republican presidential field lack: someone who is a leader, who is in the middle of the road, who can be honest and forthright, and who can make a decision.

“I don’t think any of them have a real shot at winning the presidency,” Nassour said.

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After lunch, King and his entourage went up to a private room to speak with Flaherty, who handled outreach to religious conservatives 

King said he wanted to learn how a presidential campaign works from Flaherty, who served as an aide to Romney when he was Massachusetts governor and as a presidential candidate.

Today, King is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the Carroll County Annual Republican Lobster Bake and Picnic in Wolfeboro, N.H.