The Excitement is Palpable in New Hampshire

Sam_and_barack_in_derry_nhI crossed into New Hampshire today from Massachusetts on a rag-tag meandering secondary road.  I knew immediately exactly when I’d hit pay dirt.  I was jolted at the otherwise unannounced border by an assault, a visual barrage of Hillary, Mitt, and Rudy lawn signs stuck in every median snowbank.   An orgy of patriotic red, white and blue.  I expected Born in the USA Bruce Springsteen to personally jump out of my hybrid car stereo to tell me I’d arrived.

Three out of four winters, NH hardly has a pulse in January.  Everyone’s either trying to ice fish or cuddle with a wood stove.  This year “Live Free or Die” Land is throbbing palpably.  The state is about to blow its cerebral cortex picking the next President.

I just came from something billed as an Obama “Derry Stand for Change Rally”.  I expected big, and it was: 2,500 waited … and waited.  Obama, mobbed everywhere now, arrived in the Pinkerton Academy gym in the southeastern NH sprawl of Derry an hour and a half late.

Connor_stops_global_warming_3“Change” is all the rage now.  I was there for Climate Change.  The Global Warming mafia got more stickers on more unsuspectings than all the AARPers, Single Payers and STOP THE WARriors combined.  Derry toddler Connor Santora clutching his dad Franc’s hand is proof.

What I found most surprising about the Obama rally (having attended a bunch all fall for pretty much everybody running), was that when he asked the question “Who’s still deciding (on who you’re gonna vote for Tues)?” easily, 40%, maybe 1,000 people (of every age, stripe and ethnicity) raised their hands.  I was astounded.  Granite Staters take their “front-porch-candidate-testing” wicked seriously.  No one’s gonna stampede New Hampshire into doing anything they don’t decide to do for themselves.  Attendees I met were there to listen, learn and kick the tires.  Way to be, democracy!

I was lucky enough to have my son Sam agree to allow us to use his head for multiple messaging: Boston Red Sox logo and Stop Global Warming pin on his cap.  Note Barack Obama on stage in background.

New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardiner sez this is the weekend New Hampshirites settle and decide.  But this year is more volatile and compressed (on both the R and D side) than anything I’ve ever witnessed.  Stay tuned.  Bill predicts Iowa-like huge turnout.  I plan to attend a John McCain “Mac is Back” rally in Hanover at noon Monday to see if Global Warming comes up as an issue, and how McCain, now the alleged NH frontrunner, addresses it as he woos the base.