HANOVER, N.H. -- George Pataki has a lot to say about energy supply, climate change, the Islamic State group, Vladimir Putin, the federal tax code, Washington lobbyists, Obamacare, welfare, vaccines, guns and what he considers pie-in-the-sky promises by his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination.
But first, he has to get by the question he hears at every campaign stop: Why is he running?
The former New York governor is not oblivious to the fact that he's conducting a long-shot campaign for the GOP nomination. In a 14-person field, he's registering at less than 1 percent in most national polls and has been relegated to the second tier in the GOP's televised debates. With comparatively few donors, he's running on a shoestring budget, traveling with only a few aides and meeting with small groups of voters.
Pataki, though, is plugging away, putting all his effort into this state's primary and hoping for a break.
"One thing that is certain is that things will change dramatically between now and February," Pataki, referring to the date of the first GOP primary, said while shaking hands Tuesday with the breakfast crowd at the Lebanon Diner. "But I'm not going to pretend I can come in 12th in New Hampshire and continue. We have got to break into the pack."