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John Kasich buried a dead dog and won over a supporter for life

Presidential candidates will do pretty much anything to win over New Hampshire voters. In the case of John Kasich, he'll even dig a grave for your dead dog.

Kasich, the governor of Ohio, entered the Republican presidential race two weeks ago to plenty of buzz. But during his first, long-forgotten presidential campaign in 2000, Kasich went to extraordinary lengths to endear himself to one supporter -- helping her bury the beloved canine that she ran over and killed while preparing to host the candidate at a tea party.

The story is now lore in New Hampshire. And for Linda Kaiser, the departed pup's owner, it made her a Kasich supporter for life.

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The year was 1999, and Kasich, then an ambitious congressman, was in the early days of his underdog campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

Kaiser had agreed to host a house party for the candidate at her home in the picturesque town of Amherst. As she rushed out to grab a bag of ice for the lemonade and iced tea she was planning to serve, the day took a morbid turn.

"I started backing up, and I hit something, and it felt like a rock. I said to myself, 'Oh my god, there is no rock in my driveway.'" It was her dog, Magic. "He looked at me with the most surprised look on his face, and then he died," Kaiser told CBS News.

Kaiser recalled "freaking out" as she rushed to call her friends and her husband to notify them that she had just killed the family's 18-year-old dog just one hour before Kasich's arrival.

Her girlfriends rushed over and took over hostess duties. They put Magic's body in the garage and covered him with a towel.

Then Kasich called.

"We are running a little late. Is everything fine?" he asked her.

"Well, everything is fine, other than the fact that I just killed the family dog," Kaiser explained.

"Do you want to cancel?"

"Goodness - no chance," she recalled telling him. "I'll just stay a little out of sight."

Kasich soon arrived, gave his remarks, answered questions and mingled until all of the guests had left. He was scheduled to attend another event after the house party, but took everyone by surprise when he announced a schedule change.

"I'm not walking out of here until we bury this dog," Kasich said, according to Kaiser.

Wearing a suit and carrying a shovel, Kasich and one of his staffers dug a grave in her backyard and buried the dead dog.

"We had a little service; it was so sweet and touching," Kaiser said.

While the eventual nominee that election year, George W. Bush, came across as "very distant," Kasich was a "normal, great person," Kaiser said.

Kaiser, who identified herself as an independent voter, never got another dog after Magic. But she said she's thrilled that the pooch-friendly candidate - Kasich's first campaign website prominently featured photos of his dog, Penny Bird - is running again.

"I walked up to him, and said hello and he gave me this huge hug," Kaiser said of seeing Kasich again in New Hampshire this past month.

Kasich's campaign did not respond to a CBS request for comment about the legend of Magic.

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