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Fit for office? Gabbard wins campaign push-up battle

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Washington (AFP)

She posts videos of her workouts, and surfed in the frigid Atlantic on New Year's Day. Now Democratic presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard has proved her mettle and muscle by winning a townhall push-up contest against a supporter.

The four-term congresswoman from Hawaii and combat veteran who served in Iraq, was answering questions at a campaign event Thursday in Manchester, New Hampshire when an attendee mentioned how frontrunner Joe Biden, the 77-year-old former vice president, recently challenged someone in his audience to push-ups.

"Do you think you could take him?" the supporter asked Tulsi?

Game on. Gabbard, 38 and wearing heels, dropped to the stage floor with the attendee.

Video posted on Gabbard's Twitter feed Friday shows them going head to head for nine push-ups before the supporter rolls over in apparent defeat.

"The dude clearly had at least 20 more in him," one observer posted on Twitter.

"So did I," Gabbard responded.

The staunch anti-war candidate, who does not hesitate to challenge rivals over foreign policy, has unquestioned physical fitness, but it has yet to translate into political muscle.

She polls better in New Hampshire than in most states, with 3.3 percent average support, but still trails substantially in a crowded field.

Gabbard often posts videos of her workouts, sometimes recorded in an empty hotel gym where she steals breaks from the campaign trail.

On January 1 she donned a wetsuit and surfed the waves off New Hampshire in 42-degree (5.5 degrees Celsius) weather.

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