Blogging from Edwards HQ

I canvassed for Edwards in Portsmouth all day today. Canvassing in the dark, in a black coat on a road with no sidewalks is, uh, interesting. I got up here last night hoping to catch Edwards in Somersworth and Rochester late; unfortunately his 72-hour blitz after he got off the plane from Iowa forced him to cancel.

Jimmy Denton from Desperate Housewives is up here. Wilco's “Heavy Metal Drummer” plays as his theme music. Good taste, someone. Hey, if it was only celebrities that were voting, Edwards might well be in the lead; Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon were around the state. That's glam, man.

I've ranted about the silliness of the Iowa process; I've warned that NH is just an audition. It's true. That being said, I have been consistently impressed at the apparent graciousness and good humor of New Hampshire citizens in dealing with the crush of attention from the whole country. They're used to strangers and out-of-towners invading their neighborhoods; they're used to discussing politics with said strangers with general good humor and grace; they are reasonably well-versed in the issues; they seem, by and large, to take their responsibilities of citizenship quite seriously. 

Anyway, so far Edwards looks like a distant third tonight — that's too bad.

We're told John and Elizabeth should be along pretty soon … Waiting … waiting … waiting … Ah, now he's being introduced by NH Senate Majority Leader Joe Foster. And the whole family goes on, kiddos in tow.

Elizabeth first: You know, it's such a cliche to compare the candidate to his running mate, or spouse, or someone else closely associated, and find the candidate himself just a little bit less in comparison. I don't quite feel that — I like John a lot, and obviously consider him a tremendous talent … but gosh, wouldn't Elizabeth be a dynamite candidate? If this doesn't work out, how about going up against Liddy Dole?

John speaks: He congratulates Obama and Clinton. Again brings up case of Natalie Sarkisyan, the child who died waiting for a liver transplant the insurer wouldn't pay for. Again, the emphasis on blue-collar challenges. I've heard this speech before. They're very consistent, and it's as if nothing has changed.

The crowd is upbeat, cheerful. Perhaps they're fully aware that the campaign is still in its early stages; perhaps they believe the campaign is more meaningful than the electoral victory of its protagonists. Edwards talks about “backbone, and will, and determination” to bring about a compassionate agenda. Regardless of your favored “theory of change” or “change-candidate”, surely it's worth it to realize that the next four years are going to be a long, hard slog. It's one thing to win an election, it's quite another to have that mean something.

… My goodness, the Edwards' kids are really damn cute — and sleepy. Can you imagine the lifestyle *they're* leading? Wow.

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7 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Edwards' Unpopularity

    Charley,  If it had been only celebrities voting, Kerry would have won in 2004!  Give up the ghost.   p.s. Robbins and Sarandon are great actors, but they really don't have a clue about politics in the USA.

  2. after NH, what's the strategy for JRE?

    Charley, thanks for the updates. I did several canvassing stints out of the Edwards offices in Salem and Derry and I feel great having done it. I am disappointed at the result but the people have spoken. Now I'm eager to see what our guy does from here.  

    • Honestly ...

      It involves picking a fight with one, and hoping the other screws up somehow. I think we're already seeing that -- Edwards taking Obama's side vs. Hillary in the debate.

      Remember Survivor's motto: Outwit, outplay ... outlast. :)

  3. Thanks, Charley

    Great to have you there and blogging out with the Edwards camp.  You came through when even NPR choked covering Edwards in NH.  They friggin' cut the interview off and went to the Huckabee camp.  Sheesh!

  4. Manchester/Nashua

    Door knocking early in a couple of Manchester neighborhoods and then late afternoon/evening in Nashua.

    There was a lot of literature our in Manchester, but Nashua looked largely untouched.

    Similiar with other campaign walkers. Some in Manchester, none in Nashua.

    Word I got was that Hillary's troops were most active/visible on the ground. But I found a lot of Obama literature on doorknobs, too.

    I actually thought people traffic in downtown Manchester was much lighter than in past years, odd especially because of the unbelievably gorgeous weather and the number of candidates on both sides.

    Exit polls put the economy as issue #1 for voters. If that continues/grows, it allows for Edwards middle class, populist message to move more to the center of the debate, even if he isn't delivering it. That's a win for him and his campaign.

  5. Safe travels home to Massachusetts: Thanks for the campaign blogging from NH

    Charley, I wish you safe travels back from New Hampshire and appreciate your reporting from NH.  

    Don't be tempted to stop by any of those tax-free NH State Liquor Stores to drown your political sorrows over the Edwards loss. There's always South Carolina to hang your hopes on, and we all are acutely aware that John Edwards is "the son of a South Carolina mill worker who worked tirelessly his whole life in those Carolina mills."

    I look forward to reading your latest post and blast at my political musings.

    Again, thanks for keeping us informed down here in the Bay State and hurry back to Massachusetts before the less expensive and higher quality of life in the Granite State induces you start

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