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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – New Hampshire is a picture postcard of rustic beauty, complete with tree-lined streets and quaint shops, which every four years becomes the center of the political universe.

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Just ask both Republican and Democratic presidential contenders who have ramped up their campaign efforts in the days leading up to “The Granite State” primary on Tuesday.

“I’m here today in the hopes of earning your vote in the first in the nation’s primary here in New Hampshire,” Senator Marco Rubio told those attending a town hall style meeting.

The first in the nation primary. New Hampshire’s entire identity is wrapped in that phrase.

But why should New Hampshire go first? Why not Florida?

Ask many in New Hampshire that and you may get a puzzled expression from some who find it inconceivable. Just ask Melissa Crewes.

“Don’t you think we would do well with it,” asked CBS4’s Jim DeFede.

“I’m sure you would do great, Miami and Florida would do great. But umm, I’m new here too, ten years I’ve only been here and you would be hard pressed to take this away from this state,” said Crewes.

“We’ve had trouble with elections before,” DeFede pointed out.

“Oh that’s a good point, that’s a good point. I remember that hanging chad thing,” replied Crewes.

“That still sort of haunts us doesn’t it,” asked DeFede.

“It does, it does,” she said.

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Everywhere DeFede went in New Hampshire, the ghosts of the 2000 election were brought up.

Florida had hanging chads. New Hampshire had major league pitcher Chad Jenkins.

We had butterfly ballots. New Hampshire has its own state butterfly.

But here’s a reality; Florida reflects America far better than Iowa and its 1.2 million people where 94 percent of the population is white, 1 percent is black and just three percent are Hispanic.

Nevertheless, the powers that be in New Hampshire are not about to give up their first in the nation position.

“New Hampshire has been a kingmaker but it has also knocked off presidents and would be kings,” said Joe McQuaid, publisher of the Manchester Union Leader, the state’s largest and most influential newspaper.

“New Hampshire has made a difference since 1952,” said McQuaid.

So DeFede just had to ask.

“Do you think that we would screw it up in Florida?”

“It’s not that you would screw it up. It’s not that any other state would screw it up, it’s that New Hampshire is so small, 1.2 million people, who for the most part, I think, really don’t take this role for granted, they really study the candidates,” said McQuaid.

And some of those candidates seem quite smitten with New Hampshire – like our own Marco Rubio and his wife Jeannette.

“She actually said the other day maybe we should move to New Hampshire. She really likes it up here,” Rubio said during an interview on a New Hampshire TV station.

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Et tu Marco? Et tu?