IMG_0561 Things got a bit hectic here in my personal life and I haven’t had a chance to update the political happenings. I got a chance to visit the Exeter Town Hall a few weeks back to see John McCain speak. Exeter is considered the “birthplace of the Republican party,” a concept not lost on the PR people around this event.

McCain

 

What was immediately apparent, was that there were few young people in the crowd. Up until this point I had only seen Democratic candidates, and the crowds were generally either student oriented (Obama) or family friendly (Clinton), but this event had more of a somber tone. There were many veterans in the audience, and the dress code appeared to be more conservative. Also, unlike the previous events I had attended, diversity was virtually non-existent. Considering that the town hall is only steps awayStraight Talk Express from the prestigious Phillips Exeter Academy, it was rather surprising.

The Straight Talk Express bus pulled up outside. McCain went to the stage and gave an impassioned speech and opened the microphones to the audience. McCainI can’t help but like this guy, regardless of his politics. He appears sincere, genuine, and steadfast in his opinions. What was telling to me was the crowd, which, as I said, was fairly uniform. I don’t know if he can pull off a primary election without a broader group of interested voters.

Hillary Clinton

I’ve taken a little break from this blog, but last Saturday was a pretty exciting day. The morning began with a trip to Dover High School to see Hillary Clinton speak. We were fortunate to have a connection that got us tickets to meet Hillary prior to the public speech and I found her to be warm and congenial. She offered to have her photo taken with my daughter, wrote an autograph for the daughter who was not in attendance (had to work), and was very accessible. We wound up with V.I.P. seats and I found her to be direct, knowledgeable, and an excellent presenter. She had moved this event from one that originally was scheduled in the afternoon, since she had to return to Washington for the Senate vote on the President’s “surge” for troops in Iraq. Having been won over by Obama the week before, I now found Hillary to be a better prepared candidate, with specific answers to important issues. These events can become very compelling.

Bill Richardson
A quick run to Portsmouth for errands led us to check out Bill Richardson’s appearance at a small bookstore in Portsmouth, RiverRun Bookstore. Richardson, although warm in attitude, was light in substance, and I felt that he had way too little to offer in the way of answers to his reasons for running. I was really disappointed, because although I don’t believe his chances of going far in this election are good, I do think he is one of the more qualified candidates. He will definitely have to get his appearances brushed up.

Obama at UNH

I can’t deny that it was an exhilarating night at the University of New Hampshire last night. The usually drab gym was transformed into a spectacle of political enthusiasm. Being that the university’s basketball teams do not ordinarily draw a great deal of attention, this well worn gym was in an unusual state. Obama arrived within 10 minutes or so of his expected arrival time and the crowd had already been satiated with signs, pins, stickers, posters, etc., while enjoying a good selection of uptempo music. I always wonder about the musical selections, since the presidential candidates tend to lean towards contemporary rock music for their themes. This particular event included John Mellencamp’s Little Pink Houses to get the crowd going.

I was impressed by Obama’s willingness to expand on what could have been shorter answers to the questions from the audience. He was clear that there would be no “speeches” from the audience, and that there were no planted questions in the crowd. He quickly exposed one questioner as someone who had been with someone asking him a question at another venue earlier in the day, and I’m assuming as part of an organized group. Yet even with that question, he was kind and thorough with his answer. I found him to be very quick on his feat, and most of his answers satisfied me, although I though he was a bit unclear about his position on gay marriage.

The crowd was big, and very enthusiastic. I went in open-minded, and left with a greater interest in the possibilities of a President Obama. My daughter was excited to be able to shake his hand, and I could see that he can easily become the youth presidential idol that Howard Dean was in the last Democratic primary. Very interesting …

Lucky me — I scored tickets to the big event Monday at UNH. Of course, I have to be in Boston at 3pm and will try and be back by the 6:30 starting time, but since the doors open at 5:30, it’s likely we will be in the nose-bleed seats. My daughter is excited.

Well, he did have a good excuse — that he wanted to be in Washington for the vote on Iraq. But, I had secured tickets to see him and wondered whether he would back out because of the Obama gaf. We’ll see if he still comes to NH.

So, I’ve joined the world of bloggers … as if there weren’t already enough of them! I feel that I am supposed to have an angle, something special, to warrant my own blog. Well, I don’t really have that claim to stake, but I thought it might be interesting to chronicle this year of politics from the perspective of a citizen of the sometimes great state of New Hampshire.

Welcome to our winter! It’s finally cold here, after months of ridiculously warm weather. I don’t like the cold, but the unnatural feeling of all that warm air was starting to be way too disturbing. I like this better.

Today the local news is all about the Adult Swim hoax in Boston. Maybe that’s not all the news today, but since I am driving to Boston early in the morning, it was news of importance to me. It appears that a cartoon character from the network was the origin of the hoax, so I can feel relatively safe on my morning drive tomorrow.

As far as politics goes, today I received my first telephone survey about the candidates. I actually had some free time when I got the call, and was eager to hear the questions. Part way through the call, the phone went dead, so it was an aborted survey. Hmmm … I wonder how that one will be recorded!

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