BARRINGTON, NH -- As Michele Bachmann reminded Iowans today, the Ames Straw Poll is just seven days away, but underdog GOP presidential candidate and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson is skipping it for what he said is a tougher challenge: a 100-mile mountain bike race in
Johnson is comfortable about avoiding Iowa next week, telling NBC News that he believes he will still be able to leave his candidates in the
dust come the New Hampshire primary. Johnson, who supports government posting calorie counts on all foods bought and sold and likes First Lady Michelle Obama's healthy eating campaign, says he is leading by example by putting fitness first.
"You can say I'm an extreme athlete," Johnson said here at a Tea Party picnic in New Hampshire this afternoon. "Nobody else is going to have
more energy than I am [on the campaign trail] and that's factual here."
"Yes, I'm low in the polls, but statistically I am the least known Republican," he added. "So, if all Republicans knew who I was and my poll numbers were the way that they are, I think I'd drop out."
Meanwhile, former Louisiana Gov. and four-term Congressman Buddy Roemer roamed the picnic shaking hands and asking for small donations
to achieve an ambitious fundraising goal. He proclaimed to voters he aims to raise $1 million through donations no larger than $100, in an
effort to be "free to lead" without obligations to major donors or super PACs.
"I know Washington is institutionally corrupt," Roemer said to picnickers.
"The politicians laugh... They say 'he can't do it,' but I do it every time," he said, citing his past campaigns.
Today, in the sweltering heat, Roemer managed to get one $100 check to add to the $100,000 he has already raised. Earlier this morning Roemer, who recently moved into an apartment in Manchester, campaigned at eight diners in Derry. Roemer has been out of public office for 20 years.