New York Republican Congressman Peter King is warning his party not to abandon its longstanding emphasis on national defense as he launches a two-day tour of New Hampshire.

The 11-term congressman appeared at a backyard barbecue in the state's Lakes Region Sunday evening. He says he is in the early stages of exploring a presidential bid, but is at least a year away from a final decision.

Though he has considerable influence in Washington, King is largely unknown across New Hampshire, which will host the nation's first presidential primary more than two years from now.

King says the GOP has to "go back to being the party of national defense."

The 69-year-old lawmaker plans to visit two New Hampshire businesses Monday.

[Associated Press]