Posts Tagged ‘New Hampshire’

McCain Town Meeting in New Hampshire

November 3, 2008

Here are some thoughts on John McCain’s 11th hour town meeting in New Hampshire:

  • McCain appears confident, loose and, oddly given his appearance on Saturday Night Live last night, well-rested.
  • His advance specialists have failed him. There’s a guy yawning and nodding off directly in the shot just next to McCain.
  • It’s hard for me to believe that McCain’s presence in New Hampshire, where he has always been popular, will outweigh the tremendous field resources Barack Obama’s campaign has unleashed in New Hampshire this weekend.
  • McCain better finish up soon. The New England Patriots play the Indianapolis Colts tonight.

Finally, while I endorse the idea of McCain’s appearance on Saturday Night Live, I was stunned to see him stand cheerily by as Tina Fey stuck a knife into Sarah Palin and her 2012 ambitions and twist it.

John Sununu vs. Jeanne Shaheen

September 9, 2008

My foray into New Hampshire gave me something more than a sampling of Stonyfield Yogurt’s tremendous dairy products and an amazing sampling of Middle Eastern food in Londonderry — a look at one of the hottest senate races in the northeast, John Sununu vs. Jeanne Shaheen. I wrote about it in the New York Sun:

New Hampshire is important this election season. Mr. Sununu’s seat is a key one for the Democrats to take over in order for their party to reach the 60-member milestone they need in order to gain a filibuster-proof majority. Moreover, New Hampshire, along with Pennsylvania, is a rare northeastern state that is critical to winning the presidency for this election. The Democratic vice presidential candidate, Joe Biden, will campaign in the Granite State tomorrow, and Senator McCain will be here on Sunday.

The election threatens to put a nail in New Hampshire’s reputation as a home to a flinty form of New England Republicanism focusing on individual freedom and low taxes. But in the last four years, New Hampshire’s governor’s office, congressional seats, and both branches of the state legislature have all become Democratic.

For Mr. Sununu, who beat Ms. Shaheen in 2002 U.S. Senate race, the energy coming from the current national Republican ticket of Mr. McCain and Sarah Palin is a lifeline. In an interview with the Sun, Mr. Sununu was quick to embrace Mr. McCain, the winner of the 2000 and 2008 New Hampshire primaries. Mr. Sununu alluded to President Bush once, and only in a negative context to explain his own stance on the Patriot Act.

“John McCain is very popular in New Hampshire. He’s campaigned here many times. He’s always succeeded when he’s campaigned here. People like him. They respond to him. He knows how to campaign in New Hampshire,” Mr. Sununu said after touring the National Passport Center in Portsmouth. “He is always well received and I know Sarah Palin will be as well. They’re an outstanding ticket for New Hampshire.” He called the pair “people who are [as] committed to reform as I am.”

John McCain: Back to NH

June 10, 2008

“When Senator McCain takes the stage for a town meeting at Daniel Webster College in Nashua, N.H., Thursday, his performance will serve two purposes. First, it will represent an effort to win a vital swing state. Second, a return to a town meeting style of campaigning, where candidates respond to questions from voters for a prolonged period of time, could help him perfect a vital tactic of being able to answer tough, surprising questions.”

McCain will need to do something other than set-piece pieces to compete with Obama.

Read more here in my New York Sun column.

A comment of Michael Castaldo who is involved with the advocacy group ONE came too late for my column. One is an international anti-poverty and anti-aids campaign. From his perch in New Hampshire, Castaldo saw more of all the candidates than almost anybody during the last year. I should point out that Castaldo attended Democratic and Republican events throughout last year and had one agenda item: spreading awareness and support for his non-partisan group.

Castaldo: “I believe that John not only enjoys ‘town halls’ but uses them as a reasearch tool…When we first met I was pretty sure he knew very little about ONE. So he listened and learned. The rest is history, at almost every stop he let us introduce the shanty town to the town halls of new hampshire and the 2008 presidential race. He has added the gravitas that all the rock stars and activists could never achieve.

At his last town hall before the primary he again passed me the mic; the only difference was that the ACT UP people had showed up and tried to embarras him by demanding more funding for AIDS in Africa. They had interrupted 4 times. When I finally had the mic I was almost in tears – for the last year he had done more to help our cause than any of the candidates from either party. So it was up to me to explain that to the crowd and additionally plug ONE.

If there were any ‘undecideds’ in the crowd before, they were not at the end. He truly thrives off the interaction between the crowds desire for answers, and this meeting was a prime example. There was one ACT UP member that had avoided getting thrown out and when he handed her the mic she had very little to charge him with, i had answered all he questions and she was left to mumble about how PEPFAR was a good thing and she was glad he supported it… John then said ‘I think you have your answers’ to her and ‘thank you all for coming’ to the rest of us. The crowd leapt to its feet and a thunderous round of applause ensued. It lasted for a estimated 10 minutes. He had listended to me about ONE and trusted me – I came through and was there to defend his record when he needed it. He won that hall and two days later won the primary that would carry him to be the Republican nominee for president.”