I run a subscription-based Website, www.GaryNorth.com. Yesterday, this post appeared on a forum.
On The Ground In New Hampshire Being in New Hampshire I have easy access to all the candidates. Over the last 3 days I’ve seen Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, and Mitt Romney. Earlier in the year I met Herman Cain at my neighbors house. It is very interesting seeing these guys in person after seeing them on tv. I think you can learn a lot. In addition you learn a lot about the press. If you ever get the chance I highly recommend it, it is informing, educational, and to me at least amusing.
On Friday I stopped off to see Ron Paul at an airport hangar rally in Nashua. About 300 people were there, a very energetic crowd and lots of young people (college/20’s). Also many mountain looking guys with beards and hunting jackets. Many out of staters – prob more than half. Also crowd mostly male. The CBS reporter I spoke with was having trouble finding people who actually lived in NH, but she did find some to interview. I would estimate about 20% of the crowd was press, and 50% out of state. One guy next to me was from the Danish press. Wow! The press was all over and wanted to interview whoever they could find. I was a little camera shy so didn’t do any interviews but easily could have done 4 or 5. This made me think that maybe candidates should prep their people what to say and encourage them to give interviews. This was a rally so no questions, just time to fire up supporters. Rand came out first and did a great warm up/intro, and he picked on Santorum and Romney some. Then Ron Paul came out and everyone went crazy. He gave a terrific 20 – 25 minute speech. I think Gary said he is not a great orator but he seemed like a great speaker to me. Certainly good enough to be a president. Today (the day before the election) Ron Paul was speaking at a private event in a nearby town (a homeschooler’s house, I could have gone), which I thought was odd considering this is the day before the primary, I would think he wanted to be more public. But he has a different style and is nice of him to go and tell people in small town america his views.
On Saturday I saw Rick Santorum at a town hall meeting. It was held in a community center barn that holds normally about 100 people. The event was supposed to start at 2 pm, so I arrived about 45 minutes early and it was packed! I could barely get in the door and ended up standing in the back next to the cnn and cspan guys. I would estimate 250 people packed in there, it was tight. They asked for a show of hands and more than 1/2 the people at this town hall meeting were from out of state. I don’t like that! There was even a bus of students that came up from Hofstra in NY. Rick showed up 20 minutes late, partly because he was being mobbed by people at every stop and was delayed. The CNN guy behind me said he’s been covering Rick for a while and just the last week his gatherings have been mob fests. This was no exception! Unfortunately Rick stayed outside for about 15 minutes giving a speech and answering questions to those that couldn’t get in the building, which was very nice of him, but those inside were getting a little antsy and finally after many Rick Rick Rick chants he came in. He gave a little intro and answered many questions. People really wanted to hear from him. They were curious. I didn’t sense a lot of energy though, just curiosity (however, this was not a rally like it was with Ron Paul). Another thing on the press – one of the guys next to me was a press guy and from where we were standing you could see the crowd outside. Well at some point a lone protester shows up with a sign ‘Keep Same Sex Marriage Legal’ or something like that. As soon as this press guy saw it he whips out his camera and took like 10 shots. Of course! Focus on the controversial lone sign holder. Wow.
So today I went to a chamber of commerce breakfast meeting with Mitt Romney. There were about 400 people in attendance, and it was closed you needed a ticket. Romney gave logical detailed speech about jobs, the economy, how to run a business, and how government should be run. The crowd seemed to really really like him. He looks like and acts like a president. The mood in the room was that he is going to be the nominee, no question. He also mentioned things like getting government out of the way, making it smaller, and how you can’t fund things with debt. He painted a very scary picture of the financial path we are going down with Obama. In fact, he said we will soon be like Italy or Greece in just a few years if we don’t stop things now. What was amazing is that I truly believe he would not be saying things like Greece and Italy if it wasn’t for Ron Paul being in the race! There were lots of press, and I did speak to a newspaper from Utah. Again I easily could have spoken to more and been interviewed on camera if I wished. Romney did not talk about any of the other candidates, only Obama. After his main speech he then answered questions from the audience from a roaming mic. Then time was up and he was about to leave the podium, but then this woman stands up at one of the tables and demands her question be answered, etc. They don’t bring her a mic or anything but she won’t shut up. So the emcee lets her talk a little bit (Romney still on stage at the podium) and she goes on and on about general motors and Romney would kill jobs, etc. but doesn’t get to her question. So the emcee presses her to ask a question (and the rest of us are also ancy now) finally she asks him a leading question about why he would have killed so many jobs by not saving General Motors. He then answered well and did a great job wrapping up to huge applause, thanks everyone, and leaves the stage. So now the event is over, and the press immediately swarms over to this lady and interviews here. She was surrounded by 10 – 20 cameras and reporters. I have no idea what she was saying but wow what a way to get your point sent out over the news! Just stand up and be a little controversial and then you get interviewed for a good 10 minutes by all the networks. The press is in a feeding frenzy here, they love it when anything negative comes out – especially about a Republican. This really opened my eyes as I saw this first hand. I’m sure the press would never do that at an Obama event! In fact if anyone said anything negative about Obama at an event like this they would be booed out of the room and the press would ignore them or call them crazy. I already knew this about the press, but to see it first hand makes it real.
In summary I think Romney will get first in NH, with Ron Paul second. A lot of people like him here and his supporters are the most zealous by far of all the campaigns. We get a couple Ron Paul calls every day now, they don’t stop. I don’t expect Ron Paul to win the nomination, but do think he is blazing a trail for other people to follow him in coming years.