What a Day – New Hampshire Primaries

James_dentonLet the games continue…

It is getting increasingly interesting to see just what the candidates will do to secure every last vote. I just left a very energetic crowd at the Elks Lodge in Dover, where John Edwards spoke for about a half hour. The crowd remained excited after waiting nearly 2 hours for the guest of honor to speak – but we were not bored. The Edwards campaign has quite an entourage, and we were treated to speeches by none other than actors James Denton (from Desperate Housewives – I confess I didn’t know who he was either ; ) and Tim Robbins (I knew him!). Susan Sarandon was also there for good measure, but unfortunately she didn’t speak.

Tim_3_2When Edwards took the stage, the crowd was raging. He clearly has a solid, loyal following here in New Hampshire. I found myself next to an undecided voter who had recently started to lean heavily toward Obama. After hearing Edwards’ passionate words, specifically how he will take back the country for the middle class and kick the special interests out of Washington, it looks like he has won her vote. Amazing what a great speech and a couple celebrities will do!

John EdwardsDespite the multitude of “Friends of the Earth Action Support Edwards” signs around the hall in the hands of children (and of course my “Stop Global Warming” sign), Edwards never mentioned climate change or the environment in his speech.

Earlier today, Eric Orff attended a Romney event in Salem where about 350 people gathered in another NH Elks Lodge to hear how former MA Governor will “change Washington”. Apparently that is the theme of Romney’s stump speeches these days, and it appears that all the candidates – from both parties – are offering change. Given the state of affairs in the country these days, that seems a good thing. The promise of change is far and away the loudest message NH voters are hearing, but the difference seems to be how, or if, each candidate can actually effect change.

010708_romeny_in_salem2Romney actually spoke about energy independence in his speech, but surprisingly John McCain – the most outspoken advocate for action on global warming on the Republican side – did not. I attended a brief rally in Exeter on the steps of the town hall this afternoon – and the message was all about the war on terror. McCain was running really late (another consistent theme of the day!) and again I found myself waiting for the candidate to arrive among a – mostly – patient crowd. While chatting with those around me, I think I uncovered the truly bizarre NH voter we all hear about. Standing next to me was a middle-aged undecided man, and I asked him who he was leaning toward – and why. He said quite confidently, “I’m probably going to vote for Romney, but I’m considering Obama.” Yes, you read that correctly. So naturally I asked “what are you looking for in a candidate, because those two are pretty different!” He said “they are both brilliant, and I am tired of having a President who can’t put a sentence together that makes any sense at all.” So there you have it.

Tomorrow, the voters of NH will tell the rest of the country who they think should be President. And who knows if it will be issues, smarts, hamburgers, or celebrities that influences their decisions. Time will tell, and there’s not much time left! Candidates are attending events well into the evening tonight (I think Edwards’ last event starts at midnight) so they are using every last second they have to convince people that they should be the next President.

On to tomorrow…