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At N.H. summit, GOP hopefuls take aim at Hillary Clinton

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, along with a cadre of fellow Republicans, took the stage Saturday at New Hampshire's "First in the Nation" summit, parading a conservative record and taking careful aim at the GOP presidential field's common target: Hillary Clinton.

Graham, who launched a presidential exploratory committee in January, started off the Clinton feeding frenzy at the top of his prepared remarks, likening the former state secretary's media avoidance to a communist regime.

"The reason [Clinton] can't be here today is because you can ask questions," the Republican senator told the crowd gathered for the GOP summit. "Just listening to her is like something out of North Korea."

He continued with the jab, asking "Would you like to meet the Dear Leader and ask him anything you would like? I mean, how does she get away with this? I don't know."

Clinton, who has recently come under fire for limiting press access to her events around the country, was not in New Hampshire at the time -- but that didn't stop the jibes.

"If you want to meet her," the South Carolina Republican said, "you better be able to run 35 miles per hour."

But it wasn't just Graham. Nearly every potential Republican presidential contender that found their way to New Hampshire this weekend aimed harsh barbs at the former state secretary.

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U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks at the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Summit April 18, 2015 in Nashua, New Hampshire.
Darren McCollester, Getty Images

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who announced his candidacy for president earlier this month, blasted Clinton for the scandals of her Foggy Bottom tenure.

"I think her dereliction of duty should preclude her from holding office," Paul said, alluding to the security lapses that led to September 2012's Benghazi attack.

The Kentucky Republican also accused her of misspending state department funds, saying "she spent $650,000 on Facebook ads, $5 million on crystal ware" but didn't provide enough funds to properly secure the U.S. embassy in Libya.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, also took a stab at Hillary Clinton, who won't be in New Hampshire until her scheduled visit next week.

"I could have sworn I saw Hillary's Scooby-doo van outside," Cruz said as he took the stage. "Then I realized you probably don't have any foreign nations paying speakers."

Former technology executive Carly Fiorina, who has said she's more than 90 percent decided on a White House bid, started off her attack on Clinton with a familiar line.

"Hillary Clinton does not have a track record of accomplishment," Fiorina told the New Hampshire crowd. "I said it before: I, like Hillary Clinton, have traveled the globe but I know flying is an activity, not an accomplishment."

The former Hewlett-Packard head also knocked the Democrat's much-maligned plans to reset relations with Russia while she was the nation's top diplomat.

"I have met Vladimir Putin and anyone who's sat across the table he won't ever believe a gimmicky reset button," Fiorina said.

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Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference at National Harbor, Maryland, outside Washington, Feb. 26, 2015.
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal also joined the fray, beginning his prepared speech with a Hillary Clinton jab.

"I want to talk about the great work Obama has done in the Middle East..." Jindal began, before amending himself. "I'm sorry I got the wrong notes. Sorry this is Hillary Clinton's speech."

It was "absolutely critical we beat Hillary Clinton," the Republican governor said.

And when it was his turn to take the stage, Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee touted his own experience campaigning against the Clintons.

"Every time I ran for office I ran against the Clinton political machine," Huckabee told the New Hampshire summit. "I know the Clintons all too well they play to win and they do anything necessary to win. I live to win and I live to tell about it."

Hillary Clinton, for her part, intends to visit New Hampshire on Monday for a two-day stay in the early-voting state.