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Stateside With Rosalea: New Hampshire Postscript

Stateside With Rosalea: New Hampshire Postscript

Stateside With Rosalea Barker

New Hampshire Primaries—Postscript

::Si se puede::

Obama wasted no time in his concession speech launching an appeal for votes from unions and the Latino vote, currently going to rivals Edwards and McCain, by speaking of “the three words that will ring from sea to shining sea: Yes we can!” In Spanish, that is “Si se puede” and it was the rallying cry of Cesar Chavez supporters during the United Farmworkers strike in the 1970s. These days, it is the slogan chanted during marches in support of immigrant rights.

It’s a high-risk gambit, given that the Republican candidates’ constant sparring on immigration is likely always to have that issue to the fore. It must also be a puzzling choice in the black community, given the amount of tension there is in many cities between gangs that split along those lines. On the other hand, nothing could demonstrate better his commitment to lifting Americans above the differences that split this country.

::Media favored Obama?::

For my money, the best post-election discussions are being held on PBS’s Charlie Rose show. His guests last night were Mark Halperin (TIME magazine), Al Hunt (Bloomberg News), Arianna Huffington (The Huffington Post), Matthew Dowd (2004 Bush-Cheney strategist), Bill Bradley (2000 rival of Al Gore for Democratic nomination), and Steve McMahon (2004 Howard Dean strategist).

At one point the commentators got into an argument about whether the media is favoring Obama in its coverage. But on the night before the election, the CBS Evening News played the full exchange between Clinton and the woman who asked her about how she keeps going—the “human” moment—and on the morning of the election, ABC’s Good Morning America featured an interview with her. CNN chose the day before the election to play an item showing Obama’s grandmother in Kenya separating kernels from a corn cob to feed her chooks outside her humble home. Was the implication that this rich candidate, who has every advantage of the US dream, leaves his granny in poverty in a war-torn nation? Obama was later reported to be calling the two leaders in Kenya who are allowing the mayhem to continue.

::The election in Littleton::

Littleton’s election official is the Town Clerk, Judy White. In response to my emailed questions she told me that there is no problem finding the six pollworkers needed for the one polling place they have. Though not as a general rule, voters sometimes have to show ID when they arrive to be checked off on the register of voters. It’s the Secretary of State’s call to decide how many ballots for each race are sent to elections officials, and White didn’t need to ask for any extras on Tuesday. The votes are counted at the polling place on an Accu-Votevote machine, which she characterized as “extremely accurate”.

[Note: A recount of New Hampshire’s November 2004 presidential election was called for because of anomalies noticed between the exit polls and the vote totals. A link to The Nation article about that recount is here. This election cycle, at , Ron Paul supporters are suggesting there are anomalies between results from hand-counted polling places and machine-counted ones.]

::The results in Littleton::

I wasn’t able to find out how the three people in my August story voted, but a reporter for the weekly Littleton Courier, Art McGrath, responded to my emailed questions sent before election day about how many candidates visited the area. The paper covered all of them. In brackets after each name, I’ve inserted the percentage of votes the candidate received in Littleton, taken from the Associated Press unofficial results.

With Littleton being in the relatively less populous area of the state, did any candidate not bother to come to the area?

Actually, yes they did, almost all in fact. I'll start with Republicans coming to Littleton itself and then surrounding area.

Republicans: (1082 people voted in the Republican primary, 42 of them for write-ins)

Rudy Giuliani (7) was the first candidate to visit. He was here in January before declaring his candidacy. He was in neighboring towns a week ago.

John McCain (43) came here twice, the most recent visit about a month ago.

Mitt Romney (19) came once several months ago (perhaps Oct.) though he was also in the area a few other times.

Mike Huckabee (18) was here once last month.

Ron Paul (7) was here once in late Nov.

Tom Tancredo (dropped out of the race just before Iowa) was here in the summer.

Duncan Hunter (1 vote) and Fred Thompson (1 percent) did NOT come to the area. Thompson has hardly bothered with New Hampshire at all, let alone this part of the state.

Democrats: (1070 people voted in the Democratic primary, 19 of them for write-ins.)

Obama (43) was here twice--Memorial Day and then last month sometime.

Chris Dodd (dropped out after Iowa) was here several months ago.

Bill Richardson (5) was here twice.

John Edwards (18) was here once, perhaps twice.

Dennis Kucinch (11) was here once.

Bill Clinton was in the town north of us campaigning for Hillary.

Hillary Clinton (31) did not come here but she was in Berlin, a city northeast of us. I also interviewed her one on one on the phone briefly.

::Inauthentic Obama?::

Another comment McGrath made piqued my interest because, having grown up in a small town myself, I know how quickly news travels and this small revelation of the Obama campaign’s less than honest methods made me think he wouldn’t win in Littleton:

“Obama's campaign is very slick. When he came to Littleton High School for a rally staffers passed out handmade signs to high school students that said "Vote 4 Obama" and "Littleton 4 Obama." It looked like they were made by the students but that weren't, they were provided by the campaign.”

On a related note, props to our local Bay Area ABC news team following the campaigns for setting to rest the question: Are all those people holding campaign signs outside and inside venues where the candidate is speaking local voters? No. The reporter found many Bay Area people in those crowds, and even saw the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, Carly Fiorina standing with a John McCain placard.

::I stand corrected::

Art McGrath also responded to my skepticism in an earlier article about the reasons Iowa voters—and voters in general—go to candidate events:

Read your piece on the motivation of voters attending events in Iowa. If Iowa voters are anything like NH, your assessment was incredibly unfair. Voters do indeed go to see candidates to assess whether they'd be a good president and to get their stand on the issues. There's an old joke that captures NH well. An old man was asked whether he was voting for a particular person for president and he said no, he wouldn't, as he had never met him. Even in the isolated parts of the state like here people expect to meet the candidates. It's why Thompson doesn't register in the polls here and won't do well.

Generally voters are not scrambling to take photos of the candidates or trying to get pictures taken with them or get their signatures. In almost all the events I went to the only cameras were carried by media (though anyone could take photos). Who would want their photo taken with a politician? NH voters aren't awed by politicians to say the least. Even when Obama was here that was the case. The only exception was when Huckabee was accompanied by movie star Chuck Norris--people wanted their photo taken with Norris (though not Huckabee).

As far as getting momentos to sell on Ebay, there's almost none of that. What could they possibly sell? When Obama was here a *few* high school kids and one adult (out of a crowd of 600) asked for his autograph on campaign signs after the event which possibly they could sell.

There's nothing else that could be sold. Campaign buttons are a dime a dozen and can be ordered for free online, though some people collect them in the hopes that many years in the future they'll be worth something (I collect buttons myself).



[Editor's Note: A correction to the lede in this item was corrected 4.37pm 10 Jan NZT.]

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