Politics

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

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.

At last, the rivals who were supposed to savage front-runner Mitt Romney in the final weekend before Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire got down to business.

In the opening minutes of their debate Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press, several of those chasing Romney in the polls let fly the roundhouse punches they'd been pulling through weeks and months of TV debates.

Once more, the great media consensus was confounded. Saturday night's debate at St. Anselm's College in Manchester, N.H., produced another battle among half a dozen presidential contenders, much like a dozen before it. Front-runner Mitt Romney was neither knocked out nor even knocked down. He was scarcely even knocked around.

Once again, the evening ended with the bruises pretty equally distributed among the contestants. And with the New Hampshire primary bearing down on Tuesday, virtually no time remains for Romney's rivals to bring him down.

Many of the journalists and professional political types who dutifully watched Saturday night's Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire probably had the same thought occur to them at several points: "For this we missed most of the NFL wildcard game between the New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions?"

Jonathan Lynch

Members of Occupy New Hampshire returned to Manchester Saturday to demonstrate outside of the Republican Presidential Debate at St. Anselm's College and spread their message of economic inequality.

Nearly five months after Occupy New Hampshire’s last tents were torn down in Veteran’s Park, the ninety-nine percenters returned to Manchester to demonstrate against what they perceive to be growing economic inequality across the nation.

Hundreds Turn Out For Santorum Town Hall

Jan 7, 2012
Amy Quinton

Before last night’s debate, a crowd of several hundred gathered in Hollis for a town hall meeting with former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.

So many people squeezed inside a barn in Hollis to hear Rick Santorum that it prompted one campaign staffer to exclaim “this is nuts.”

Most of the several hundred people inside were political tourists from out of state.

At one point Santorum told the crowd that he’d only take questions from New Hampshire residents.

He urged voters to stick to their values.

Ron Paul Returns to NH

Jan 6, 2012
Jon Greenberg, NHPR

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul drew a crowd of about 450 people at his first event in New Hampshire  after the Iowa caucuses.   Paul’s promise to curtail foreign military activity drew some of the loudest cheers.

The Texas congressman has nothing if not an enthusiastic following and voters young and old alike responded well to Paul’s signature policies.  Especially when he said the imminent danger of a nuclear Iran is exaggerated.

When asked what he would do about Social Security and other entitlements, he said he would protect them.

The University of New Hampshire poll shows Mitt Romney at 44 percent support, up five points from two weeks ago. Texas congressman Ron Paul stands at 20 percent. UNH survey center director Andy Smith says the race for now – at least -- is for third.

“But because NH voters make up their minds very late that could easily be for second, should Ron Paul slip up and or should some of the support for the non-Paul and non Romney candidate go to Santorum or Gingrich or Huntsman.”

Photo by Lawria via Flickr

It’s game on in the Granite State. Every four years, the TV trucks pull in, guys in suits and sunglasses show up in your local breakfast joint, and the opinions of New Hampshire citizens are momentarily considered to be of national importance. It’s the first in the nation primary time!

Campaigning in New Hampshire, Republican Mitt Romney accused President Obama of creating a bad business climate.

Romney said the President’s policies are designed to help his political allies more than the country as a whole.

He told voters in Salem that President Obama packed the National Labor Relations Board with union stooges; that he used the stimulus to repay public sector unions, and that the President backed green jobs initiatives to benefit supporters at companies like Solyndra.

Photo by peekabou, courtesy of Flickr creative commons

News of the New Hampshire Primary gives pundits plenty to chew on this week. Later this year, momentum will flag and campaigns will wear on. Absent an imminent vote or sex scandal, media-makers occasionally flirt with exciting uncertainties – or as Steve Kornacki calls them, political red herrings.

McCain's Street Cred Aids Romney

Jan 4, 2012
Jon Greenberg, NHPR

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is benefiting from the endorsement of Arizona senator John McCain.  Some voters are ready to translate their trust in McCain into a vote for Romney.

John McCain has long been popular in New Hampshire.  He trounced George W. Bush in the 2000 primary and edged out Mitt Romney in 2008.  At a packed event in the historic Peterborough town hall, McCain urged people to get behind his former rival.

 

Republican Mitt Romney looks to solidify support here after his narrow win in Iowa.

New Hampshire is supposed to be where Mitt Romney wins big. But his first event only half filled a school gymnasium. With John McCain at his side, Romney cast himself as a candidate capable of uniting all Americans.

“I want America to remain one nation under god. I want to bring us together. I want to restore the principles that made us the hope of the earth, I don’t want to transform America into something that we don’t recognize. I want to restore America.”  

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