Tag: New Hampshire primary

Peter McDermott of the Irish Echo on the history of the NH primary

Andy Smith’s (head of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center) comment about the Hillary campaign, particularly its attitude to the media, was backed up by Maureen Dowd’s column the following day.
“Hillary has barely talked to the press throughout her race even though the Clintons this week whined mightily that the press prefers Obama,” she wrote. Dowd echoed another comment he made when she said that Eugene McCarthy forced the incumbent President Lyndon B. Johnson from the White House with his strong showing in the New Hampshire Primary in 1968.

Both Andy and the NYT columnist are wrong on this historical point. The primary was held on March 12, which LBJ won in a write-in campaign. The president announced to the nation in a televised address on March 31 that he would not be seeking reelection. What neither mentioned is that Robert Kennedy had entered the race on March 16.

I referred to these facts in a general opinion piece about the history of the primary, which was published in my paper on Jan. 2, and can be found on the IPA website.


Letter from America

New Hampshire sets stage for blazing American election season

By Jehangir Khattak (This article was written for the Pakistani magazine Defence Journal)

defence journal logo

New Hampshire primaries results have set the stage for a blazing election season in America. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s ability to prove all scientific data generated to predict her certain defeat in the Granite State primaries and John McCain’s resurgence despite almost dried up funds has made the 2008 presidential election one of the most closely contested in recent years.

The snow-clad city of Manchester (NH) and its adjacent state capital Concord and elsewhere in the sprawling countryside all were dotted with political shops set up in school gymnasiums, town halls, small country-style cafes, restaurants and every conceivable space that could be used to impress the voters. The candidates too used every available media to reach out to the voters. Thus voters in New Hampshire were in no mood of celebrity gossip rather they were practically in the middle of almost daily gossip with celebrities.

Kathy Gunst was thrilled to see Bill Clinton talking to about a dozen of his admirers outside a restaurant at lunch time in Exeter, a small town in vicinity of Manchester. “It was deeply intimate to listen to a former President of the United States on a side walk,” Kathy, told Defense Journal. Kathy said Bill talked about different projects his foundation had launched. He talked less about politics and more about environment and some international issues like Turkey’s joining the European Union.
It could be because the locals were so used to celebrity talk on roadside pavement that not all walking by opted to listen to Bill. Some of the former President’s admirer’s had a photo opportunity as well, giving a valuable addition to their personal albums. So was the style of almost all the candidates who wouldn’t miss an opportunity of public engagement in an effort to woe New Hampshirites, considered hard nuts to crack when it comes to winning their vote.

A local joke speaks of their maverick political nature. “I am still undecided after having heard the candidates and shaken their hand two times,” is the common phrase used by the state voters to force the candidates make more rounds of their communities or subject them to a “special” treatment. Little wonder New Hampshire has one of the highest numbers of undecided or independent registered voters in the country. Forty-two percent of the state voters are registered as independent and can legally swing in favor of either party on polling day.


A Polish reporters meets New Hampshire voters

Talking to New Hampshire voters
By Ewa Kern Jedrychowska
Reporter, Nowy Dziennik/Polish Daily News

Polish Daily News

On the eve of the New Hampshire primary, we went to 3 rallies – John McCain’s, Mitt Romney’s and Barack Obama’s.  People that I interviewed in all these places were passionately sharing their views and expressing support for their favourite candidates.  Almost as if they were trying to convince me that they are right.  “This election is about one issue only – war on terror, and John McCain is the only candidate that can deal with it,” said Christine Liska, 57, a resident of Epping, during the rally in front of the Exeter Town Hall.  “I’m tired of politics in Washington. I believe Obama will bring this country together and change its foreign policy,” said Heidi Page, 41, who lives in Deering and attended an Obama rally at Concord High School.  These people had made up their minds.  They were determined and the message they were trying to put across was almost as strong as the one of the candidates’ themselves.

Then I realized yet again how much I liked interviewing Americans. Whenever I talk to them on the streets of New York, I am amazed how open and enthusiastic they are. How they have no problems with sharing their views, and how they don‘t mind giving me their names and being photographed, unlike people from the Polish community that I cover for my newspaper. Poles usually don’t want to talk to the press, or if they do they prefer to stay anonymous. I can usually forget about taking their pictures. Some of them are undocumented and do not want to be exposed. Others say that, “this community is too small and they do not want their friends to recognize them in the paper.” As if having an opinion was something embarrassing.

So I was very surprised to get a “Pole-like” attitude on primary day in front of the polls in Exeter, right where the McCain rally
happened the night before.  Most of the people that I tried talking to did not want to reveal who they voted for.  “This is my private matter,” they would simply tell me.  Only a handful agreed to share their thoughts with me.  How strange… It did not seem to be their private matter the night before.

But then I understood that people going to the polls are not the same people that I met at the rallies.  Most of the people who attend rallies are the convinced and determined voters who go there to express their support.  Coming to rallies, I think, requires more involvement in politics than just going to the voting booth.

I also realized what should have been obvious right from the beginning: Americans from New Hampshire are not Americans from New York.  I had always known they had different political preferences and voting patterns, but now I understand that probably some of them also had a different intimacy level.