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Newt Gingrich to Charlie Bass: 'Remember Me'

Gingrich reaches out to old foot soldiers like Bass, who helped GOP capture U.S. House majority in 1994 for first time in 40 years.

They exchanged pleasantries a few months back. The former field general said to the former foot soldier, "Remember me."

U.S. Rep. Charlie Bass, first elected to Congress in the Class of 1994, said he has not heard much directly from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich since they ran into each other earlier this year.

That should change, as Bass has yet to endorse anyone. He fully expects a call from Gingrich as GOP circles. Others are courting him, too, but no one with the same in-the-trenches solidarity as Gingrich, architect of the "Contract with America."

Does loyalty play a factor?

Bass, a Republican representing New Hampshire's 2nd District, said allegiance for the old boss is not an issue. "What matters is who has the mandate to move forward as an alternative to President Obama," Bass said in an interview with Patch. He said economic growth is the No. 1 issue, and that Americans want policy first, party second.

Gingrich, despite his early campaign stumbles, remains a promising alternative, according to Bass.

"I know Newt Gingrich the best," Bass said. "We have a great relationship and obviously he's a very solid candidate. He's certainly a candidate with lots of new ideas."

Their relationship in the 1990s emerged as caricature in newspaper editorial pages. Bass still laughs at a Mike Marland cartoon that pictured Bass with a lapel pin that declared, "I Love Newt!"

And, he noted, the conservative Union Leader often referred to him as a "loyal foot soldier" to Newt Gingrich.

"He and I have kept up over the years," Bass said.

All of which could mean little in the endorsement sweepstakes. Bass may not endorse anybody, though that would be a first for him. And though the New Hampshire Primary is 50 days from this Sunday, there is plenty of time for a guy who, in 2008, endorsed John McCain the day before the Primary.

Bass calls Mitt Romney "the candidate to beat," but he marvels over the voters moving from one candidate to another, trying to find the candidate who is just right as the best alternative to Romney.

"I've never seen it like this," Bass said. "I really can't tell you what's going to happen between now and January."

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