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In battle of New Hampshire, Palin wins front page

In the world of

New Hampshire

politics, the Union Leader newspaper still packs a punch. And on Friday there's no better way of judging just how

Sarah Palin

's visit obscured the

Mitt Romney

campaign launch than by looking at its front page.

The former

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governor gets the biggest splash with the headline, "Palin hits the Seacoast." Her bus tour showed up for a clambake in the Portsmouth area, just a dozen or so miles away from where the putative

GOP

frontrunner made his candidacy official.

Romney's announcement wasn't totally overshadowed; he gets a thumbnail photo and a tease to the story inside the paper. But it pales in comparison to the shot of Palin waving as she walks with daughter Piper for a stop in her not-a-campaign. There were more prominent headlines than Romney's about the death of the state's former governor and yes, even a rabid fox.

The Union Leader is an overtly conservative newspaper and often uses its front page to make a political statement. When it endorsed

John McCain

in 2008, it not only had front-page editorials praising the

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senator but a series of articles blasting Romney, also a candidate at the time.

Team Romney understands the influence of the Manchester-based paper. The Union Leader website for days has featured prominent online advertising promoting Romney's kickoff.

michael.memoli@latimes.com

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