NWF is on the Ground in New Hampshire!

1New Hampshire is buzzing!

The intensity of the presidential campaign in New Hampshire has definitely gone up several notches! For the last 2 days my colleagues and I have been traveling around the state – attending candidate events, talking to voters and press, etc – and the energy on all sides is astounding. One thing is for sure, there are still a TON of undecided voters out there and over the next 2 days the people of New Hampshire will continue to grapple with their decision.

The Iowa Caucus clearly caught many of the candidates’ supporters by surprise, and while the winners are working hard to ride the wave of momentum, the others are tirelessly attempting to create a very different outcome here in New Hampshire.

My colleague Eric Orff attended Hillary’s “welcome back to New Hampshire” event very early on Friday morning, and the energy in the large hanger was vibrant, positive, and enthusiastic – clearly there are droves of Hillary supporters desperately hoping that what “happened in Iowa will stay in Iowa.”

Throughout the weekend, large, energized have gathered to see Obama, Clinton, McCain and Edwards. Giuliani and Richardson have not been so fortunate, at least from the handful of events we were able to attend (not a scientific analysis by any means!). We plan to get to see many more candidates before Tuesday, so I’ll report more when I can.

2This morning I went to an Obama rally at a high school in Exeter, and the excitement is palpable. Both the candidate and his supporters can taste victory, you can feel it. In addition to his other key issues (war, health care, education), Obama spoke eloquently and passionately about his intention to take on the oil companies and the need for clean energy development in this country. This drew big cheers from the crowd, especially when he talked about the potential for job creation through a new green economy.

Of all the events we have attended thus far, without a doubt the most inspiring for me was a rally we organized outside the Manchester debate last night. Well over 100 people donned global warming shirts, signs, buttons, and costumes (I’m not kidding, there were 2 polar bears, a snowman, Santa, and even a CFL lightbulb!!) and rallied outside the debate site. We outnumbered all the campaigns! People of all ages (including a bus of 30 that came up from New Bedford, MA to join us) cheered and chanted various “STOP GLOBAL WARMING” messages in front of the circus of media and campaign staff that filtered by. Cool stuff. Maybe New Hampshire Public Radio was onto something today when they called energy policy one of the “hip issues of this year’s primary”!!

After the rally, we all gathered in a bar in Manchester to watch the debate and our crowd multiplied to over 200. The room erupted into cheers when McCain brought up global warming (of course that was quickly silenced when he mentioned nuclear), and of course again when Al Gore got his shoutout during the Democrats debate. Clearly this issue is on many voters’ minds in New Hampshire, and fact that it is consistently among the important issues each “would be” President mentions is encouraging.

My apologies for this lengthy post, but it is amazing just how much happens in one day in New Hampshire right now! Over the next 2 days, my colleagues and I will attempt to provide a snapshot of all the craziness thru this blog. One thing is clear to me – the voters of New Hampshire are still making up their minds, and may well remain undecided right up until they pull the levers.

Exciting stuff! Stay tuned.