By Andrew C. Bome
Published January 06, 2008
(Editor's Note: Andrew C. Bome is in New Hampshire for the US presidential primaries and agreed to write a journal for those Raise the Hammer readers who are interested in following US politics. -Ed.)
The plan on Saturday morning was to see a Barack Obama rally at Nashua North High School (home of the Titans). On the way, we drove around Nashua to look at lawn signs. We saw signs for just about everyone, including Mike Gravel. I managed to steal signs for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. They will become office decorations for 2008; my office mates will be jealous.
We spent a little bit too long looking at lawn signs. When we arrived at the gym around 9:30, the parking lot was already full and we had to park in a No Parking zone. The line up to get in ran for about 500 metres. I felt like I was trying to get tickets to see Hannah Montana; funny, I don't remember any lines to see Bill Richardson. I guessed that there were about 2,000 people in the gym, and there were probably another thousand in the overflow gym.
On the way in, we talked to some folks who were surprised at the numbers. In the line, people found out that we were Canadian, and the conversation rapidly turned to health care. We made it clear that we loved our health care system. Basically, they can have my health card when they pry it from my cold, dead hands.
The other thing I noticed about New Hampshire politics is that it is a family thing. Lots of folks were at the event with their children. I suppose they are trying to raise the next generation of New Hampshire primary voters.
The speech itself was thrilling. As a rhetorical framing device, Obama used the term, "in three days' time" - the primary is three days after the speech. He basically finished the speech with, "In three days' time, you can vote for change you can believe in."
His last bit was the best bit. He was talking about the importance of hope in his life and its link to the campaign. He told us that he was not rich, he was raised by a single mother and his grandparents: the only thing he got was love, an education and hope. This almost brought tears to my eyes.
The bit about the United States being the only place in the world where he could do what he was doing was insightful and spoke to the best part of America. By the end of the speech I could feel the thrills going up my spine.
I'm glad I waited.
At 2:30 we went to see Bill Clinton. The event was in the gym of Souhegan High School (home of the Sabres). Part of the difference in this election is the fact that they have about a thousand people waiting to hear the spouse one of the candidates. Of course, never in the history of the United States has the spouse of a major candidate been an ex-president.
We hit the political sway jackpot today. There was very little Hillary Clinton sway here, but on a table by the entrance was some literature by Lyndon LaRouche - as insane as he ever was.
The woman who introduced Bill Clinton is an example of the problems with Hillary clinton and her campaign. The introduction did not sound like it came from the heart. Instead it sounded like she was working off a consultant's checklist: hillary represents change, check; Hillary represents experience, check; Hillary is ready to lead from day one, check.
Bill Clinton still has that Democratic Rock star appeal. When he came in, he got a standing ovation. The speech itself was merely okay. He ran the shopping list of Hillary's achievements and her plans - but nobody does the shopping list like Bill Clinton.
The main difference between his speech and Obama's was that Bill Clinton got a lot of polite applause. For Obama, people were geniunely excited by him.
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