NEWPORT, N.H. -- It was a solid town hall for Jon Huntsman, 250-odd full chairs in a high school gym,* and mostly friendly questions that revealed who likes this candidate. A deft answer on immigration ("nobody's coming over the border anymore!"), a four-part health care plan (as good as I've seen anyone handle pesky AARP plants), and lots of China anecdotes.
But Glenn Kaplan thought that Huntsman dodged his question. "Do you want my vote?" he asked.
"I'm not going to pander to you," said Huntsman.
"Will you support a constitutional amendment to end corporate personhood?"
"I've only been asked that question once before, by Stephen Colbert!" said Huntsman. This led into a digression about how much he'd done to promote New Hampshire, followed by a description of his tax plan. Not an answer.
Kaplan was annoyed, but not so much that he'd vote against Huntsman. He was frustrated with other politicians, frustrated with Barack Obama, and Huntsman was better on the rest of the issues.
"My wife and I are big into Occupy," he explained. "We spent a lot of time in Zuccotti Park. We crossed the fence." this was a reference to the post-Zuccotti attempt to occupy a park owned by Trinity United Church. A Huntsman win, or a Huntsman surprise, would be pulled off by uniting conservatives with people like Kaplan.
Not that a surprise was coming. "We want to do very well here," said Huntsman. He'd continue after New Hampshire "if we beat market expectations."
*When did high school gyms start adding rock climbing walls? Second one I've seen this week.