updated 12/11/2003 12:05:30 PM ET 2003-12-11T17:05:30

A much-watched first date for presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich ended with kisses on the cheek and an endorsement.

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“Gina, we’ll talk,” Kucinich told Gina Marie Santore after the two had breakfast Thursday with a gaggle of reporters and photographers nearby.


A political Web site, PoliticsNH.com, chose the New Jersey woman over nearly 80 other contestants for a date with the twice-divorced Ohio congressman. He had joked recently about what he wanted in a potential first lady.


Better than Gore
Kucinich, 57, told reporters Santore’s endorsement was more significant than Al Gore’s backing of front-runner Howard Dean “and based on actual discussion.”


The two met Thursday morning in the lobby of a downtown hotel and later discussed health care, medical malpractice and prescription drugs over oatmeal at a restaurant.


Santore, 34, of Maple Shade, N.J., called herself a lifelong Democrat. She said she works as a confidential aide to the Camden County sheriff in southern New Jersey and lives with her boyfriend. Kucinich attracted her attention, she said, because she found his views “intoxicating.”


Asked if there would be a second date, Santore said, “I guess we’re going to have to consult the schedulers.”


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