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January 06, 2008

On The Campaign Trail
Posted by Michael Cohen

So a few thoughts on the ground here in New Hampshire. People are sick and tired of the primary. Even the ones enthusiastic for a candidate just want the whole thing to be over with.  Part of me is sympathetic and then I remember that New Hampshire insists on being the first primary state.  These guys have a disproportionate say over who will be the next President; a little pain seems like a small price to pay.

Once again, I’m really impressed with the Ron Paul folks. I just drove through downtown Manchester and there were Paul supporters on every corner with a smattering of Kucinich folks. I’m not sure it will make much of a difference on Election Day, but when it comes to enthusiasm the Paul folks are doing a heckuva job. 

You see spontaneous rallies on street corners and major junctions all over the place. The Hillary and Paul folks seem to be the best at visibility. I haven’t seen a single Edwards or Romney visibility, but of all the Republicans I've talked to, they are all supporting Romney.  I'm sure that means nothing, but I pass it along nonetheless.

I’ve really been trying to check out a Huckabee rally, if only to see Chuck Norris. I make no exaggeration that everyHuckabee event features special guest . . . Chuck Norris. I mean I enjoyed Delta Force as much as the next guy, but this is getting ridiculous.

I’d like to say I have some insights into what’s going to happen on Tuesday based on voter reaction, but alas New Hampshire residents are very tight-lipped about who they are supporting. I got into a fascinating conversation with some folks at a Dunkin Donuts about the Dem primary race and it was clear that a lot of folks on the Dem side are deciding between Hillary and Obama. One got the sense that people wanted to vote for Obama but were still not quite ready to make the plunge. However, if the latest CNN poll is any indication people are moving toward Obama. Apparently his lead is up to ten points.

My favorite story came from an Obama volunteer who said he met one undecided who said he was trying to decide between Obama and Huckabee, but he wasn't sure about Huckabee because he doesn't like "the whole religion thing." I'm sort of befuddled how you could even considering supporting the Huckster if you don't like the "religion thing" but hey, to each his own.

That's all for now. More to come tomorrow!


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On the Republican side, I have to say I don't think even a poor showing in New Hampshire need be fatal to Romney's candidacy.

Neither McCain nor Huckabee have a great deal of money or organization in the primary states after New Hampshire. Romney has both. He loses New Hampshire, congratulates McCain, notes that as a first time Presidential candidate he's made some mistakes and not done as well as he'd hoped, and pledge to ask the opinion of voters in larger, more Republican states in February and March. Another candidate would be devastated after having put so much effort into the two earliest states and lost. Romney's more resilient than that. Of course if he were to lose South Carolina and Michigan as well he might have to pack it in, but within the GOP he remains a strong candidate relative to the opposition he has now.

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