Former President Bill Clinton tried to light a fire under New Hampshire Democrats at the party’s annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Manchester last night.
He warned that without a more energetic voter turnout effort, Democrats could take a big hit, as they did in 2010.
"In 2010 we had a terrible election all over America," Clinton said. "New Hampshire had the biggest percentage drop in the United States of America in the percentage of people that voted for president in 2008 and voted in the mid-terms in 2010. You dare not let that happen again. People here know about voting."
More than a thousand boisterous Democrats attended the event, held in the city’s Radisson hotel.
Clinton’s appearance came less than three weeks before the election. Democratic troops are anxious over polls showing that Republicans have a reasonable shot at winning at least three of the four statewide seats at stake, as well as both houses of the Legislature.
Clincton condemned the onslaught of negative campaign advertising that’s hit the state’s airwaves in recent weeks.
"Look at those ads. Are those people trying to make you think? No, they are trying to get you to stop thinking. They want you to cast resentment votes. Resentment against the President, resentment against the Affordable Care Act, resentment against the last bad thing that happened," Clinton said. "And it’s my experience that anybody who ever lobbied me by trying to get me to stop thinking, did not have my best interests at heart. "
Clinton spoke for more than 40 minutes.
He was one of several who implored the crowd to help turn out the vote – particularly Democrats who reliably go to the polls when there’s a presidential election at stake, but who don’t always show up in mid-term elections.
Incumbent Governor Maggie Hassan, Congresswomen Anne Kuster and Carol Shea Porter, and Senator Jeanne Shaheen took turns extolling their ideals, and taking jabs at their opponents. Here’s Shaheen.
"And I don’t care how many ads Karl Rove and the Koch brothers and those folks from Chicago run against me, I am never going to stop fighting to make sure everybody has access to quality, affordable health care," Shaheen said.
Many of those ads Shaheen mentioned try to link her closely with President Obama, whose popularity is sinking. And while there was a Democratic president at the overflow event in Manchester’s Radisson hotel, it was former President Clinton, not Obama.