By Andrew C. Bome
Published January 07, 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.)
Because of the timing of Chowderfest we were not able to get to the Hillary Clinton event in time. Unfortunately the High school gym was packed and we were forced to the overflow gym, the same location as the Obama event on Saturday.
We got to hear Hillary Clinton but not see her. We also did not get to hear her speech, but were there for the Question and Answer session. It was hard to tell about the reaction to what Senator Clinton was saying, but from the sound system it sounded like she received a lot of polite applause and none of the geniune excitement that was there at the Obama event.
Strangely enough, the biggest cheer she got was for a promise to make the federal student loan forms simpler. Those must be some forms if that gets a big cheer.
One of the cuter questions she received was about what America would call Bill when she became president. Her answer was that she would still call him Bill, but maybe would have a contest to come up with good suggestions. One idea that she mooted was to give Bill the title "First Mate"; in that vein I am thinking that we might call him Gilligan.
The Q & A session seemed to go on forever. It really sucked the energy out of the room and the folks in the overflow room were really restless. The most precious question came from a chirpy young woman (maybe she was a Clinton intern). The question really sounded like it was drafted for her by a Clinton consultant.
Basically, she prefaced her question by saying that people say that she did not do so well in Iowa because she did not speak to the issues that effect youth, and that she wanted to ask a burning question in the mind of the young people of America - about social security.
(Strangely enough, at the Edwards event later in the evening, we heard a similar question that sounded like it was drafted by a consultant. It involved a young person asking about Social Security. Edwards didn't handle it so well. Maybe that's why he is third in the polls and Hillary is second.)
After the Q & A finished, Alan and I finally went to the rope line to try and get a handshake or an autograph from Senator Clinton. She went by me and was about one foot away from me (1/3 metre for you metric fans) but neither shook my hand nor signed my lawn sign. It probably had something to do with the cute-as-a-button 12 year old right in front of me. I will lose that battle ten times out of ten.
One thing I can say is that Clinton radiated presence. I felt like I got a bit of a tan just from basking in Hillary's glow.
Later in the evening I went to a John Edwards event. It was in a small town called Derry. Maybe it says something about New Hampshire that it has a city named Derry and a city named Londonderry. The event was in the school cafeteria of the Gilbert H. Hood Middled school (home of the Huskies). I guess the gym wasn't available.
Two Hollywood celebrities introduced John Edwards. The first was Madeleine Stowe. I checked her out on IMDB and I would have seen her in "12 Monkeys" - she was the psychiatrist. She is also almost 50 but doesn't look it.
Her story about why she was introducing John Edwards had a lot to do with her experience with her father. He was an M.S. sufferer and her family had to spend a significant amount of her youth providing care for her father. She felt that the government Social Security benefits and Health Care benefits kept her family in the middle class and allowed her to grow up without being humiliated.
James Denton also spoke. He is in "Desperate Housewives". Presumably he is not one of the housewives.
One pretty cool note about the Edwards speech: he had a sign language interpreter. This was the only candidate who I noticed doing this.
He started off with the line that two of the candidates in the primary represent change and that one represents the status quo and that the country is well past the status quo. Two obvious questions: Is this a dig at Hillary Clinton? and Is he running for the spot of Barack Obama's Vice-presidential running mate? The answer to the first is obvious, the second not so.
The other interesting thing is that early in his speech he talked about companies that were able to respect worker rights, including the right to unionize, kept jobs in America, were able to give good health care coverage to their workers and make profits. Costco and AT&T were the two examples he used.
My favourite line in the speech was his line about not taking money from consultants. He said he didn't because it was really hard to be tough on your bankers.
He then turned the mike to the mom of the girl who was refused coverage for a liver transplant and then died. The mom is Armenian; she compared the insurance company to Turks. You know that insurance companies are evil when an Armenian compares them to the turks.
One last thing: Santa Clause was in the room. P.J. O'Rourke in Parliament of Whores said that Santa Clause was a Democrat. I guess he was right.