The snow continues to fall on the trail.

Politics on the road.
Dec. 20 2007 1:05 PM

You Ain't Goin' Nowhere

The snow won't lift in New Hampshire.

Slate's chief political correspondent, John Dickerson, is reporting from New Hampshire this week, three weeks before the primaries on Jan. 8. In addition to his stories, he'll be filing Twitter updates and dispatches about life on the road. You can also follow his travels on the map below. Also, check out John’s past travels in Iowa and all the candidates' whereabouts on " Map the Candidates."

John Dickerson John Dickerson

John Dickerson is Slate's chief political correspondent and author of On Her Trail. Read his series on the presidency and on risk. Follow him on Twitter.

Dec. 20, 2007

Manchester, N.H., Noon: There is an old joke about the guy who in the middle of running a marathon got too tired and ran back. Today, I am that man. About 15 miles down Highway 101, headed toward Exeter to catch Obama, I broke off my tour into the driving snow and returned to Manchester.

After I'd settled my rental car on the two thin gray lines on the highway, I called a source at one of the campaigns. I needed to do the reporting and I could either focus on how hard the snow was falling, how much there was on the road, or the discarded spun out carcasses of vehicles that were parked on the shoulder. Or, I could focus on the most wide-open presidential race in the history of mankind.

"You know," he said, "the thing is, God forbid if anything happens, you'll wonder why you thought driving was so important." This was persuasive. I have seen a lot of Obama speeches. I saw him last night. More persuasive, though, was the Wal-Mart truck and his cousins driving as if it were a bright, dry day and the cheap Christmas presents were two days late. The highway has two lanes, but in the snow the lanes are only theoretical. (permalink)

Manchester, N.H., 9:32 a.m.: It's been snowing since last night's parking lot incident. The schools are closed. I check in with the Obama folks. The events are still on in Exeter, though this message from one of Obama's staffers is not encouraging: "Drive carefully. I spent an hour in a ditch this morning." (permalink)

Dec. 19, 2007


Manchester, N.H., 7:30 p.m.: If I'm not going to make it to the Obama event, I'll catch John Edwards down the street. His event started at 6:45, and—given how late he always is—I'm sure it hasn't even started.

Drat. It has. The Palace Theater is packed and Edwards, still in his graduate school uniform, is pacing onstage in front of the set of A Christmas Carol. He's just wrapping up, which means Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne have long ago finished. I take notes anyway.

Edwards gets more detailed questions from his audiences than other candidates. He's asked about the military tribunals act, the nonproliferation treaty, and the relationship between global warming and poverty. For each, he has a very specific answer. At the Obama event I just attended, for example, people asked vague questions about unity and education. Then, a woman in the upper balcony stands up not to ask a question but to sing. She has written a song for Edwards and despite the professionals onstage, she is unbowed.

John Edwards he should be our president
He's the one with all the qualifications
And he'll lead without a reservation
Edwards is No. 1, follow him and see
He's the man with the plan and he can do what's right for us
Edwards is for me.