You Ain't Goin' Nowhere
The snow won't lift in New Hampshire.
The tune resembles the kind that was sung in campaigns up until the '60s. My mother used to sing them, which sent me racing from the room. I am gripped by the same urge. When the woman finishes the first verse, the room erupts into applause. Everyone is on her side. "If I were you, I'd stop on that," Edwards says. What he means, I think, is that she's done such a wonderful job she should go out on a triumphant note. And yet, he may also mean: "If I were you I'd stop on that." (permalink)
Manchester, N.H., 7:15 p.m.: Apparently the people who attended the Obama event and have parked in the underground garage have never seen snow before, or they are transfixed by the Obama message and unable to operate their vehicles. These are the only two reasons I can find to explain why the cars trying to exit the garage into the light flurries are unable to do so at a faster rate than one per lunar cycle. I am going to miss the next event. Wait, no I'm not; it's just some blockage that will clear. Someone will get a new general and there will be a surge. I am in it to win it. Fifteen minutes pass. The cars do not move. At this rate, I'll never make it. I am Tancredoing this operation. (permalink)
Manchester, N.H. 6 p.m.: Obama arrives to a room full of 700 New Hampshire voters—the same room where last December I watched him flirt with the idea of running for president. Everyone in the room has had to go through a narrow passage between two tables so that volunteers can cajole them to put down their names and phone numbers or e-mail addresses. Events like this are about the candidate making his pitch, but they're also an effort to capture data. The campaign needs personal data to constantly assault voters with phone calls, yard signs, text messages, and e-mail updates for the next three weeks to make sure they turn out to vote.
Obama gives a fine enough speech and he has everyone on their feet at the end, but I've seen him better. Anyone can have an off event, so I'm headed down to Nashua to catch his next act. Most of my colleagues in the press are not going to go to the next Obama event because it's snowing too hard. I'm going to risk it. The event is only 25 miles south of Manchester, so I figure it's not that hard a mission. (permalink)
Dec. 18, 2007
Nashua, N.H., Raddison, 10:30 p.m.: The hotel is under renovation. This means there is no food and no libation. After a long day, I find that I am struck by a terrible thirst. The solution can be found at Uno's down the street, where it takes three hands to hold the fold-out menu and where there's a completely separate menu for the flaming, fruity, and frapped drinks. After a day of not eating, however, I am convinced that I have discovered the best pizza in the history of pizza. (permalink)
Nashua, N.H., 8 p.m.: Like in Keene, the theater at Daniel Webster College is packed and there is an overflow room. And like at Keene, we wait for the candidate for an hour. The crowd starts the fast-clap, which is never good for a candidate. Finally, Raitt and Browne play, and Edwards gives a stump speech nearly identical to the one he gave up north, though his wife and daughter are gone, so they don't interject.
A woman stands up to ask him a question about socialized medicine, and he does something I've seen him do at a few other events. He anticipates where she's going before she's done and cuts her off a little bit. He ultimately apologizes after mischaracterizing her view. Bush did this, and I do it, too, when I'm not being very generous to the person I'm debating with. It's not antagonistic, exactly, it's just not generous. He is a man in a hurry, and it shows. (permalink)
Nashua, N.H., 7:45 p.m.: "Mommy, where are we going?" asks a toddler in front of me as we make our long, slippery way into Daniel Webster College to hear John Edwards. His mother tells him that they're going to hear Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne. Oh, and John Edwards. "Is he president?" No, she tells him, he's running for president. It's about 17 degrees, it's a long walk from the parking lot, and I'm very much in agreement with the young lad when he complains, "Mommy, I'm freezing." She has no sympathy: "It's good for you." That is the New Hampshire way. (permalink)
Nashua, N.H., 7:22 p.m.: I have forgotten to eat today. I now have a series of bad choices to make among America's fast-food chains. I turn into the McDonald's because its there. The Neverlost Lady does not like this because she has been tasked with getting me to the John Edwards event. "Please proceed to the highlighted route," she admonishes, because I am off course. For the 2012 campaign, she'll have directions from the doctor: "Chicken nuggets have too much salt, which leads to high blood pressure." She chides me again: "Please proceed to the highlighted route." On the little screen, my car, designated by a triangular ship identical to the one on the old game Asteroids, is off the grid floating in blackness. The drive-in line is too long. I bail. I am back on course to catch Edwards. She has nothing further to say. (permalink)