Republican Presidential Hopefuls Debate

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) - The Republican presidential hopefuls are distancing themselves from President Bush.

They made a point of it last night during a spirited debate in New Hampshire, on the same stage where the Democratic candidates squared off Sunday.

Several GOP candidates violated former President Ronald Reagan's cardinal rule of not speaking ill of another Republican.

Former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson criticized Bush's diplomatic skills, saying he wouldn't send him to the United Nations to represent the U-S.

And Arizona Senator John McCain criticized the administration for its handling of the Iraq War, though he defended the immigration reform compromise.

The attacks make clear the presidential hopefuls believe that distancing themselves from the president could help their chances in 2008.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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