Politics

Political news from New Hampshire Public Radio, from the State House to the First in the Nation Primary.

(Phil Sletten for NHPR)

Ron Paul election night headquarters is full primarily of journalists, but that will change soon.  Paul supporters have filled the lobby outside the main event room.  The Paul staff was originally not going to open the doors until 8 PM, but they have decided to let the Paul supporters in earlier.

The Paul Campaign says that there are at least 40 journalism organizations here, ranging from familiar names like Fox News and NPR to far flung organizations, including  Suddeutsche Zeitung from the south of Germany.

Media Crush

Jan 10, 2012
Todd Bookman for NHPR

With less than an hour to go before polls close in New Hampshire, a huge crowd of reporters swarm Camp Gingrich. Flashbulbs and headphones are in the majority, as supporters are slowly starting to trickle in. 

(Ryan Lessard for NHPR)

The ominous Huntsman signs with their signature black background and big red "H" in vogue font are conspicuously absent this primary night. Instead, new posters with traditional red or blue colors are spread around the crowded Huntsman headquarters in downtown Manchester sporting the new slogan "Country First". The tagline is a reference to the way he has repeatedly defended himself for his service as Ambassador to China under the Obama administration, something his opponents hope to paint as tantamount to working for the enemy.

Taylor Quimby for NHPR

Political Reporter Josh Rogers listens in to NHPR's special coverage in the press area at Mitt Romney's HQ.

Kevin Flynn for NHPR.

At 7:00 pm, about 250 reporters, photographers and engineers are staking positions in the ballroom of the Derryfield Country Club in Manchester. There are a dozen satellite and ENG trucks in the parking lot, several with licenses plates from other time zones. Inside, the Santorum staff continues to play with signs and adjust lights, hoping to the make this an event most memorable.

What's missing? The supporters.

(Phil Sletten for NHPR)

The floor of the election night headquarters of Texas Representative Ron Paul still has a lot of open space, but more people are entering the room each minute.  The Paul staff appears exhausted, and some young men sitting in front of the main stage do not look very animated. 

The Paul Camp has a very strong media contingent, with a phalanx of camera crews and journalists spread across the entire back of the mid-sized room.  Media crews from as far away as Denmark have gathered to cover Congressman Paul's address.

Ready To Swing

Jan 10, 2012
Todd Bookman for NHPR

Strike up the band! Team Gingrich has hired Boston-based Tuxedo Junction to entertain the former Speaker's fans here in Manchester. The six-piece band will be playing a broad mix of tunes. Expect a few swing songs if polls look good...a dirge or two if Newt doesn't finish in the top three.

3...2...1...

Jan 10, 2012
(Photo by Rebecca Lavoie, NHPR)

Tune in all evening for our broadcast during this New Hampshire Primary. In the studio with Laura Knoy, NPR Political Junkie Ken Rudin, and Dante Scala from the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute. 

Taylor Quimby for NHPR

Jim Bragg, who calls himself Mitt Romney's "button-guy" is downstairs selling Romney campaign buttons, stickers, and blue and pink warm winter hats.  Bragg was selling buttons at the Romney camp in Iowa during the caucus, but says the New Hampshire supporters tonight are much more enthusiastic.  "This is a madhouse here," he says.  

Taylor Quimby for NHPR

Supporters of front-runner Mitt Romney are gathering downstairs in the dining hall at Southern New Hampshire University.  All the action will take place upstairs, but it won't be another 30 to 40 minutes before they start admitting the general public.  A group of young staffers say they're very optimistic about Mitt's chances of placing first.

Todd Bookman for NHPR

Polls will be closing soon here in Manchester. Outside of the Gingrich Camp, NH House Representative Laurie Pettengill (R, Carroll 1) is hoping to sway a few more voters over to Newt Gingrich. After volunteering for Romney four years ago, the first-term Representative is attracted to Newt's ideas for balancing the budget. "The conservative party is important to me," she says. "He's the right mix that we need." 

 

 

Kevin Flynn for NHPR.

In the hours before the polls close - and national reporters have nothing to do except bide their time before their live shots - there was some real buzz at the Santorum HQ.  Literally.  The audio system from the podium was plagued by a buzz.  Any audio engineer will tell you such a gremlin is caused by a crossed wire, a short inside a line, or the impedance on a sound line being switched the wrong way.  The problem is chasing it down among an army of radio and TV news crews.

All hands on deck

Jan 10, 2012
Photo by Rebecca Lavoie for NHPR

NPR's Political Junkie Ken Rudin is on hand tonight to provide insight and analysis. You can follow him on Twitter at @KenRudin, and let us know your questions for him on our NHPR Facebook page, or @NHPR on Twitter. 

How Much Does The Primary Actually Help NH Tourism?

Jan 10, 2012

In an earlier post, we spent a fair amount of time breaking down the economic impact of New Hampshire primary spending. (You can read that post here.)

Primary Day in New Hampshire turned into open season as GOP rivals launched a barrage of attacks seeking to undermine front-runner Mitt Romney, whose campaign hopes to live up to expectations that he will deliver a solid victory.

Not only does Romney need to win, he needs to win convincingly — holding challengers such as Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich and a resurgent Jon Huntsman comfortably at arm's length.

Steady Primary Turnout

Jan 10, 2012
Jon Greenberg, NHPR

Polling supervisors describe turnout as steady as the primary gets underway. 

The early birds were waiting outside the  Cawley Middle School when the polls opened at 6.   By 7:30, about 300 people had cast their ballots.

Hooksett resident Diana Brighton picked Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

“Well, I think he can beat Obama and I like his politics.”

Electability and the prospect of defeating the current president were reasons given often by Romney voters. 

But former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman was the choice for Sam Knowles.

There's been a collective notion swirling among New Hampshire politicos and pundits that this year's Republican primary just doesn't stack up to past events. Candidates aren't as anxious to go to town hall meetings and shake hands at nondescript diners. By and large, they're not throwing astronomical sums of cash into unending TV ads. Yes, they're here, touting the importance of the early New England vote.

The central argument of Republican Mitt Romney's presidential campaign is that he understands how the economy works — thanks to his business background — in a way that President Obama does not.

Democrats have been challenging the former Massachusetts governor's claim that the private equity firm he founded helped to create more than 100,000 jobs. Now, some of Romney's Republican rivals are raising questions of their own.

According to our guest today, Colin Woodard, America's political divisions aren't between red states and blue states, right and left, Republicans and Democrats but between 11 distinct North American cultural regions.  They are regions the he names "Yankeedom", "Greater Appalachia", "The Deep South" and "The Far West" and they have been created by centuries of Americans who settled there, each with their own unique cultures, religions, political traditions and ethnographic characteristics.  Woodard suggests that only by truly understanding these regions can we begin to see beyond these deep 

Help NHPR cover Primary Day

Jan 10, 2012

What did you see and hear when you went to vote in the New Hampshire primary? Share your experiences and observations through NHPR's Public Insight Network and you'll help us cover the events of Primary 2012.

Just click on this link to help out.

Describe the scene at your polling place

As always, your response is confidential.

Thanks for your help!

New Hampshire Public Radio has been covering the candidates as they campaign in New Hampshire. On Tuesday evening, host Laura Knoy sits down with NPR's political editor Ken Rudin, and UNH political analyst Dante Scala, to keep you apprised of the latest poll results and check-in with reporters throughout the state.

Republican Presidential Candidates Make Last Push

Jan 9, 2012

 

Mitt Romney spent his Monday focusing vote-rich southern New Hampshire. He started at a chamber of commerce breakfast Nashua, where a comment he made about choice in health care,

“I like being able to fire people who provide services to me,”

became a late-breaking flashpoint.  Democrats and republicans rivals Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman all piled on. So much so that at Romney’s next stop in Hudson he called a press conference, his first since the Iowa caucuses, to defuse the matter.

Mitt Romney added an impromptu news conference to his already full campaign calendar Monday in New Hampshire to explain this statement from earlier in the day: "I like being able to fire people that provide services to me."

When he said those words, Romney was making a point — during breakfast at the Nashua Chamber of Commerce — about the value of being able to switch insurance companies if you're not getting good service.

As Mount Washington calmly reigns over much of New Hampshire's geography, Mount Romney smiles down on the last day before the state holds the nation's first presidential primary.

The front-running former governor of neighboring Massachusetts spent the day getting chummy with crowds in Nashua and Hudson and Bedford, reciting his favorite lines from "America the Beautiful" and engaging in other behaviors just as risky. He came out in favor of free enterprise and job creation and got really cross with the Chinese for currency manipulation and intellectual property theft.

On Tuesday night, New Hampshire voters could catapult Mitt Romney securely onto the path of the Republican nomination, or they could undercut the air of inevitability surrounding his campaign.

The former Massachusetts governor is clearly expecting the catapult. One indication? On Monday morning, the candidate changed his rhetoric to reposition himself even more squarely as a general election candidate.

Can you name the candidate donning the boots pictured in the photograph?

Republican presidential candidates file in to New Hampshire in preparation for Tuesday's primary.

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Jan 9, 2012

There was a lot of talk about God and religion during last week's Republican caucuses in Iowa.

Then came the miraculous victory Sunday in the playoffs by the Denver Broncos and their quarterback, Tim Tebow.

There are no coincidences when it comes to politics, sports and religion.

A handful of new polls are out, all of which have Mitt Romney ahead in the Jan. 21 South Carolina primary by varying margins.

On Morning Edition Monday, Steve Inskeep spoke with six women in Derry, N.H. who all plan to vote in Tuesday's first presidential primary.

Inskeep dropped by the home of Elaine Sweeney, where the women gathered for coffee, donuts and wine on Sunday to talk politics. Her house in Derry overlooks Beaver Lake, covered this time of year with a thin film of ice.

Final Ad Burst; Final Ad Fizzle

Jan 8, 2012

In the closing hours of the primary, the campaigns are turning to the airwaves to make one last push for votes.  About a third of the electorate say they have yet to make up their mind.  Some 60 television ads a day might help them decide. That might sound like a lot but the real story of advertising in this primary is,  there’s so little of it.

Two candidates have dominated the New Hampshire television market for several months.  Texas congressman Ron Paul, often cast as a firebrand, is now running an ad aimed at burnishing his image as a reliable leader.

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