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NASHUA, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire's largest newspaper, the Union Leader, is the latest target of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's attacks against the news media.
Its offense? A front-page editorial Monday by publisher Joseph McQuaid declaring, "Trump campaign insults NH voters' intelligence."
"You have a very dishonest newspaper, it's also a failing newspaper," Trump told a New Hampshire crowd Monday before going on a freewheeling tirade against the paper, McQuaid and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, whom the paper endorsed in November. Trump has frequently gone after media outlets throughout his campaign, often criticizing reporters during his rallies and on social media.
In the editorial, McQuaid said New Hampshire voters will be smarter than to elect Trump in the state's Feb. 9 primary.
He cited Trump's earlier claims that Sen. John McCain, who was held prisoner during the Vietnam War, is not a war hero and his comments mocking fellow GOP candidate Carly Fiorina's appearance.
"Trump has shown himself to be a crude blowhard with no clear political philosophy and no deeper understanding of the important and serious role of President of the United States than one of the goons he lets rough up protesters in his crowds," McQuaid wrote.
Trump, in response, accused McQuaid of asking him for favors in the past and mocked a GOP candidate forum hosted by the Union Leader in August, which Trump chose not to attend.
"I believe in hitting back," Trump told the crowd. "I watch this guy, and honestly, he's a loser."
Trump then alleged McQuaid told him he would never endorse Christie, because Christie was photographed hugging President Barack Obama days before the 2012 election. McQuaid called the claim "absolute garbage."
The Union Leader's endorsement of Christie kicked off a wave of recent momentum for the New Jersey governor, whose presidential hopes hinge on a strong performance in New Hampshire's primary. Trump did not spare Christie in his attacks against the paper.
"The people say: Why is he ruining New Jersey? We're a disaster state, we're going to hell and our governor's up in New Hampshire every day doing town hall meetings," Trump said.
Trump first hit back at McQuaid earlier Monday during an interview with WMUR-TV.
In response, McQuaid told WMUR he'd been expecting Trump to criticize the paper earlier. "I thought when we endorsed Governor Christie that Trump would lay us out like he lays out everyone who doesn't agree with him 100 percent," the publisher said.