WESTERN PERSPECTIVE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE POLITICS (REPUBLICAN PRIMARY)
Report from Manchester, New Hampshire
All the national media is in New Hampshire. In our hotel, in Manchester, New Hampshire, are Fox, NBC, CBS, CNBC and C-Span.
Instead of snow, New Hampshire’s people were opting for swimming in the ponds they normally ice skate on. But lack of snow did not stop the chill Ron Paul and Rick Santorum caused Mitt Romney in Iowa.
The lack of snow may be caused by the hot air of Republican Presidential candidates pouring into New Hampshire. Surely it is “political” hot air, because these Republicans don’t believe in Global Warming.
Bachman looked flustered and tense as she bowed out of the race. Gingrich tired and sober, moved into negative attack mode. Ron Paul has been beaming with the knowledge that he has strong support among populists, college kids and more supportive independent voters than any other Republican.
But Romney is expecting 40% or more of the New Hampshire vote. If he gets less, it will be considered a loss for him. Anything less than 40% will reflect that Republicans simply aren't fully inspired by Romney. And that suggests that the national election will be a very close race, probably a very negative race. Romney is a programmed man with carefully crafted campaign phrases. He is trying to be far enough to the right for main line “Repubs” but close enough to the center to attract a national audience. He cannot win the Presidency with only Republican purists and he can't run without them. He seems to be resorting to far right wing statements hoping to break through to the Republican base. But his stand on abortion and health care continues to drive Repubs and Tea Party people away. When he spoke here in Manchester Wednesday he had John McCain standing beside him, hugging and holding the microphone. Thursday, Romney was sounding more “negative” as his campaign matched the negative attacks that fellow Republicans cast on him.
There are two "Ricks", Santorum and Perry. The first… Rick Santorum, has limited money but great charisma with his “Tea Party” and “Praise God” appeal. The second “OOPs” Perry has much money, and also seems to think he is the leader of the “Bible belt Repubs”. Santorum nearly beat Romney in Iowa, and spent 1/10 of what Romney spent. The second "Rick" has money but couldn't remember the rest. Perry spent a fortune in Iowa and got only 10% of the vote. He has never gained traction since his “Oops” moment.
Huntsman has intellectual skills but doesn't have big money or organization for a national campaign. As he walked through our hotel today, he was also in “attack” mode, but the target was Romney, not the Democrats.
My sense is that Santorum and Huntsman are posturing for the VP slot. Santorum just had a good showing in Iowa where he, Romney and Paul garnered over 66% of all votes cast. But speaking of VP’s we uncovered a hot story on recent polling that has implications for New Mexico and Texas. David Paleologos, is considered one of the nation’s best pollsters. He told me that his recent poll indicates Obama vs Romney tied at 42% to 42%. Obama with Hillary Clinton as VP poll results are: Obama 50%, Republican 41%. But Obama-Clinton vs Republican Mitt Romney and VP Mario Rubio= Obama 41% vs Romney 46%
Why? Mario Rubio is the Republican “Crown Prince” of the Tea Party, and Hispanic U.S. Senator from Florida. David Paleologos told me that Rubio can bring in the Hispanic vote from Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California and tip the election to Romney and the Republicans. This poll from the Suffolk University Political Research Center could change the entire presidential race.
Today we saw former Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge, NBC's Hard Ball host Chris Matthews as well as CBS, and CSPAN stars all pouring in to New Hampshire to report the “battle” here, because surely New Hampshire will determine the Republican candidate for President.
Why New Hampshire? Well, any westerner from New Mexico or Texas like myself, knows that New Mexicans are multicultural and calculating and Texans bold and decisive. But New Hampshire’s people are edgy, tough, hard and independent. They see through political dross and that may be why Ron Paul strikes sparks here. Paul may have some fringe ideas, but he seems honest. Some say too honest, because he doesn't run from his beliefs, even if the professionals tell him they are risky. He has charisma like Reagan or Goldwater and college kids see his character and love him. These granite tough New Hampshire voters appreciate fearless candor.
But this conservative state surprised me in the independence of the people. Up in the mountains of New Hampshire there is a general store called Foster’s Crossroads. Politicians always drop by there to chat and this store has hosted many a president. It is managed by Irene Gillaney. This old store has supplies piled up “country
style" that you can only dream of, and as people and politicians come in to warm by the
old wood burning stove they will see Irene sitting in the back,
balancing the books with her hand calculator and computer.
I asked her who she was voting for and she said: “Well, considering all of what we have heard so far, I’m thinking to vote for the Democrats this time. The Republicans simply don’t sound like leaders this year. "
Then there is Tanya, a waitress at J.D.’s restaurant, in Manchester. “If I can get off work, I may vote for Romney, but I am ok with Obama too.” She seems to be like many, tired of negative extremists. This might suggest that the nation is tired of negative voices.
The “edgy” New Hampshire vote is a protest vote, that always sends a national message.. They are tired of party manipulation and opposed to “Walk in locked step” party politics. They are going to send a “flinty” message this year. “Give us a president who puts the nations above dogma, and puts American citizens above party politics.”.
That’s the “WESTERN PERSPECTIVE”.