Pence, Ramaswamy opt out of Labor Day showdown in New Hampshire

Former Vice President Mike Pence and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, who have become fast foils on the 2024 campaign trail, attended the same picnic in Salem, New Hampshire, on Labor Day, their first time in the same space since sparring at last month's debate.

But Pence slipped out shortly after making his remarks and the two did not meet, despite coming within 20 feet or so of each other.

Pence and Ramaswamy, the two candidates who spoke the most on the first Republican debate stage in Milwaukee, due in part to their repeated clashes, have continued to criticize each other on the campaign trail and in media appearances in the nearly two weeks since.

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Ramaswamy has questioned Pence for certifying the 2020 election results, insisting that the vice president could have asked for several election reforms, and only certify the election results on the condition reforms were enacted -- a notion Pence unequivocally rejects.

Pence, meanwhile, has blasted Ramaswamy as, he says, "just wrong" -- on foreign policy, election policy and inheritance tax policy. Ramaswamy, in turn, has said Pence is misrepresenting his positions.

PHOTO: Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks during the NCSL Legislative Summit on Aug. 16, 2023, in Indianapolis. | Vivek Ramaswamy, Republican candidate for president in 2024, campaigns at a town hall in Hampton, N.H., on Sept. 1, 2023. (Kelly Wilkinson/IndyStar via USA Today Network | Brian Cahn/Zuma Press Wire)

Ramaswamy, asked at Monday's event about Pence's critical view of him, said in part: "He's a good guy and I wish him well in his life .... I think that the fact that we're having real debates in this party about the division between a neoconservative foreign policy establishment and a new, unapologetically nationalistic vision of how we advance American interest -- that's good. I'm glad we've smoked that out. And I think that we're going to persuade many people."

MORE: Pressed on Trump's conduct, Ramaswamy argues: 'Bad judgment' is not 'a crime'

They've offered brief compliments, too. Ramaswamy has called Pence "a man of faith" and Pence has called Ramaswamy "a good family man." They shared a quick handshake at the end of the debate.

PHOTO: Republican presidential candidates, former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy participate in the first debate of the GOP primary season hosted by FOX News at the Fiserv Forum, Aug. 23, 2023 in Milwaukee. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, former Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, and Steve Laffey, the former mayor of Cranston, Rhode Island, also spoke and met with voters at the Salem Republican Town Committee’s annual Labor Day picnic, as presidential candidates descend on the first-in-the-nation primary state with months to go until votes are cast.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, who ruled out running for the Republican presidential nomination earlier this year but has played kingmaker to candidates in his state since, also addressed attendees.

MORE: Ramaswamy breaks from GOP orthodoxy on foreign policy, sparks pushback ahead of first debate

Pence isn't the only Republican going after the 38-year-old political outsider. Former U.N. ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who returns to New Hampshire on Tuesday, continues to call Ramaswamy "naive" on foreign policy after calling out his lack on experience at the debate.

Pence, Ramaswamy opt out of Labor Day showdown in New Hampshire originally appeared on