Credit Daniel S. Hurd

NHPR's political coverage from the New Hampshire State House to the First In The Nation Primary, Town Meeting, and the Congressional Delegation. Stories by Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers, Digital Journalist Brian Wallstin, and the NHPR News team. 


The New Hampshire Republican party is complaining about an incident of vandalism that occurred on their Concord headquarters. “WWJD Healthcare for Everyone” was written in green spray paint on the side of the building.

Matt Slater is the party’s executive director.

“Healthy debate of the issues is what makes our country great, but when folks cross this line, that’s just a line that unfortunately puts a nasty light on the whole political process.”

New Hampshire Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte expressed frustration with the budget stalemate and debt ceiling crisis on “Face The Nation” Sunday morning.  Host Bob Schieffer began by asking her where she thinks negotiations are since House Republicans' failed bid to defund Obamacare.

NHPR / Michael Brindley

With the government shutdown now in its second week, there’s growing bipartisan concern in New Hampshire about the impact on state tourism and the local economy.

But there’s a difference of opinion on who’s to blame in Washington.

With Columbus Day weekend approaching, nearly two dozen campgrounds on federal land in the White Mountain National Forest remain closed due to the shutdown.

State Representative Warren Groen of Rochester says the state’s tourists and business owners are paying the price.

Republican Dan Innis, dean of the University of New Hampshire's business school, is running for Congress in the state's First District.

Innis, who also owns a Portsmouth inn with his husband, announced his campaign via an online video Wednesday. Though he's never run for office, he tells The Associated Press that the national situation is so dire with the growing deficit, national debt and Washington gridlock, that he's determined to do something about it. He says too many members of Congress let Washington change them instead of the reverse.

dimmerswitch via Flickr Creative Commons

Congressional approval rating hit a new now of 10.5 percent this week. If you’ve found yourself yelling at the radio and TV news coverage of the government shutdown and plotting revenge at the next election, you may not have to wait until 2014.

Last month, two of Colorado’s Democratic state senators became targets of a successful recall after voting for more restrictive gun legislation, adding to the increasing number of recall campaigns launched over the past two years. 

Seth Masket is a political scientist at the University of Denver, and a regular contributor to Pacific Standard.  He spoke with us about his article “The Recall is the New Normal”. 

Brandon Burris via flickr Creative Commons

We like to think of the Word of Mouth Saturday show as a convenient, one-hour public radio field trip. So pack a special picnic lunch and grab a buddy, here's what's on the itinerary this week:

  • Bill Maher Love him or hate him, it really doesn't matter, Bill Maher is a great interview.
  • Field Trips Jay Phillip Greene explains his recent study on the power of the school field trip. Turns out they have real and powerful educational value.

Ayotte, Shaheen Split Over Avoiding Government Shutdown

Sep 27, 2013
Via shaheen.senate.gov

New Hampshire's U.S. senators were split on a vote to keep government operating past Tuesday.

Republican Kelly Ayotte opposed the measure that, if approved in the House, will avoid a threatened government shutdown. Democrat Jeanne Shaheen voted in favor of the bill. It passed the Senate 54-44 Friday afternoon but faces an uncertain future in the house as the high-stakes stand-off continues into the weekend.

Ayotte says she opposed the measure because it exceeds spending caps and only lasts two months. She says that means the whole crisis will be repeated.

Democrats: It's Time For A Woman President

Sep 27, 2013
Kevin Lamarque/ AFP/Getty Images

Democrats gathered in New Hampshire's largest city Friday's said the event wasn't designed to promote Hillary Rodham Clinton specifically. But Clinton supporters dominated the discussion hosted by EMILY's List, a group that works to elect female Democrats across the country.

Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm said Clinton would be, quote, "the most qualified person to run for president, probably almost ever."

EMILY's List president Stephanie Schriock says several women could run for president in 2016, but Clinton rises above them all.

Courtesy Shaheen.Senate.gov

New Hampshire Sens. Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen have partnered with a bipartisan group of senators to protect funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

The group is requesting nearly $3.5 billion in the spending bill before Congress. The program could see funding reduced during the upcoming winter without action.

via Capital Center for the Arts

Long before he was pushing the boundaries on television’s Politically Incorrect or hosting Real Time on HBO, Bill Maher was a stand-up comedian. He still does about 50 shows a year, in venues all over the country, and he’s coming to the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord next Saturday, October 5th. Some love him, some hate him, but his biting wit has made him one of the leading satirists in America today.

A special panel tasked with developing casino regulations for New Hampshire may meet with its newly hired consultant at its meeting Thursday.

The New Hampshire Gaming Regulatory Oversight Authority recently hired WhiteSand Gaming of Nevada and New Jersey to help it write regulations for lawmakers to consider next year. The panel has a Dec. 15 deadline to submit draft legislation.

The agreement with WhiteSand says its charges cannot exceed $135,000.

NHPR Staff

A Merrimack company that makes engineered plastics for the aerospace, automotive and other industries is the latest stop on New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan's "Innovate NH" tour.

Hassan is visiting Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics on Thursday. Her office says the company has committed to reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions to bring each new building's thermal performance into compliance with the most stringent national standard.

Former Republican state Sen. Jim Rubens is set to formally announce his plan to run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Jeanne Shaheen.

Rubens is making his announcement Wednesday morning in Concord.

Rubens ran for governor in 1998, losing in the Republican primary to Jay Lucas. Shaheen beat Lucas to win her second term as governor.

Rubens, a private venture investor, chaired the Granite State Coalition Against Expanded Gambling and worked to defeat bills to legalize casinos.

Photo Credit KP Tripathi, via Flickr Creative Commons

Congressional approval ratings are currently scraping the floor at about 15%. Voters report feeling frustrated at the dominance of political posturing over action. The exasperation has many wondering what our Legislature does exactly, and what in the Sam Hill are they talking about on the hill. A new web-based tool allows citizens to track congressional discussion, bills -- including state bills -- and regulations concerning issues they care about. From raw milk to education bills to campaign finance, Scout is designed to deliver real time results and encourage a more informed public. Our guest is Tom Lee the director of Sunlight Labs, the technical arm of the Sunlight Foundation – which works to make government transparent and accountable. He and his team helped develop Scout.

Strawbery Banke Receives $300K Donation From State Senator

Sep 16, 2013
sskennel via Flickr Creative Commons

A New Hampshire state senator has made a $300,000 donation to the Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth to construct an expanded visitor's center.

Martha Fuller Clark, a Portsmouth Democrat, said she hopes the project, which includes a new cafe along with 50 percent more space in the lecture hall, will bring more people to the 10-acre outdoor history museum.

Fuller Clark's mother, Marion Fuller, was one of the founders of Strawbery Banke, which is a National Historic Landmark.

New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte says she's skeptical of the credibility of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar Assad and the ability of the United Nations to execute a plan for Syria to relinquish its chemical weapons.

But Ayotte, commenting after President Barack Obama addressed the nation Tuesday night, said if the effort is successful, the world would be safer.

Salon.com via Reuters/Fred Greaves/Brendan McDermid

Anthony Weiner’s mayoral race is losing steam after revelations that he continued sexting women after resigning from Congress in disgrace in 2011.  San Diego Mayor Bob Filner says he will not resign, despite a number of women accusing him of sexual harassment and predatory behavior.  Both sex scandals revolve around married politicians, both are democrats, and both are getting tarred with the same brush, and not only by the media.  Katie Halper is humorist, blogger, and contributor to Salon, where she argued against conflating Weiner and Filner’s actions – even if both of them sound creepy.

MeneerDijk via Flickr Creative Commons

It’s been a pretty big couple of weeks for Amazon.com.  First, President Obama chose one of the company’s fulfillment centers as a backdrop for a speech on raising the minimum wage.  Then, news broke that Amazon’s founder, billionaire Jeff Bezos, had purchased the venerable Washington Post.  Amazon now has one hundred and twenty-six million monthly users.  But they might want to start reading product reviews with a grain of salt.  Cited as the largest single source of internet consumer reviews in 2010, the online giant is susceptible to a deceitful practice called astroturfing.  When Susan Crawford’s book “Captive Audience” about the Telecom Industry was published in January, it attached a number of bad reviews later revealed to be fake…with a political agenda behind them.  Our guest Mike Masnick weeded out these fake reviews and published an expose for Techdirt that reached the front page of Reddit.  Masnick is the founder and CEO of Floor64 and editor of the Techdirt blog, we spoke with him about his findings.

morteza bahmani via Flickr Creative Commons

Egyptian troops fired on supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi in Cairo last week. In June, anti-government protests in Turkey were broken up by what the Council of Europe deemed to be excessive force. In Brazil, weeks of demonstrations climaxed on June 21, when millions spilled onto the streets in more than 100 cities. More than 180,000 citizen-made videos captured the throngs in Brazil alone and some were uploaded to support charges of undue police violence made by Amnesty International and other civil rights groups. As amateur media grows increasingly integrated into protest coverage, software developed by researchers at the University of California at Berkeley could support and protect activists against unjust persecution. Called the “Rashomon Project,” the program synchronizes films taken from multiple angles to creating a complete timeline that could to be used as evidence of abuse during human rights trials. Ken Goldberg is professor of engineering at UC Berkeley and leader of the Rashomon Project, and he spoke with us about the project.

In the current American political system, some say larger states can be at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to political representation in the U.S. Senate and electoral college, to a degree some say the Founders likely never imagined. Some are clamoring for a remedy of some sort, while others suggest the two Senators per State model still plays an important role in balancing political power. We'll look at both sides of this debate. 


A Thursday deadline is looming for House and Senate lawmakers to come to an agreement on the next two-year state budget. NHPR's Josh Rogers gets us caught up on the state of the negotiations, and what chance there is of Medicaid expansion being wrapped into the final deal.

It's committee season at the State House, as the legislative year nears its end. In the next couple of weeks, the budget will be getting the most attention, with some contention over Medicaid expansion, school building aid, charter schools, and personnel cuts. Other bills to watch for include medical marijuana and voter ID. US Senator Kelly Ayotte announces she supports a bipartisan immigration bill.


The Republican-led State Senate gets closer to a final budget, while carving out a deeper divide with House Democrats.   Also, new challenges for President Obama’s Affordable Care Act in the Granite State.  And a makeover for the Hooksett I-93 rest areas as a well-known New Hampshire restaurateur gets the bid.



Norma Love, Statehouse reporter for The Associated Press.

Josh Rogers, NHPR’s statehouse reporter, and senior political reporter and editor.

Sara Plourde / NHPR
Sara Plourde / NHPR

In the wake of 9/11, the faith of many people was shaken to the core… with the help of authors like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, a movement many referred to as “New Atheism” emerged – pointing a finger at religion as a source of global violence and zealotry.  Now, more than a decade later, the rhetoric seems to have softened.  Our guest today argues that secular humanism is shifting into a new era, paving the way for a brand new conversation about religion and the faithless.

theqspeaks via Flickr Creative Commons

Mere hours after the Boston Marathon bombings, the internet lit up with conspiracy theories…Infowars and Alex Jones weighed in…so did Glenn Beck, who said he had proof that it was an inside job by the government. It’s kind of tough to back off from such a bold statement…and as evidence to the contrary mounted, those claiming to know the truth tend to get even more riled up and attack the poor saps who disagree with them. They get especially mad when one of their own disagrees. 

US Embassy Panama via flickr Creative Commons

Last week, after a long hiatus from the news cycle, a familiar voice graced the airwaves…President George W. Bush speaking at the opening of his Presidential Library and museum in Texas. The event put Bush on the podium, and back in the limelight after years of relative seclusion.  The library’s opening also made for an unusual photo op– all five current and previous living presidents – Jimmy Carter, Bush Sr., Bill Clinton, Bush Jr. and Barack Obama – sharing a stage, shoulder to shoulder.  Ex-presidents have  taken on a number of roles after leaving the oval office throughout American history… here to talk more about life after the oval office is political junkie and NPR political editor Ken Rudin, who you can hear Wednesdays on Talk of the Nation.

Senator Kelly Ayotte has been in the news for her opposition to expanded background checks for gun sales; the NH Senate set to vote on a number of bills this week, with a number of them expected not to pass; one bill that may find bipartisan support is the proposed freeze of the Voter ID law, which would mean that more stringent requirements set to go into effect in September would be put on hold.

In the wake of the bombings in Boston, NH Senator Kelly Ayotte and other lawmakers are arguing for treating the remaining suspect as an enemy combatant, which would break new legal ground; the national gun bill fails to pass, with Senator Ayotte being the lone New England Senator to oppose the bill; the casino bill backed by Governor Hassan and the NH Senate is now being examined by the NH House Finance and Ways & Means committees; both branches of the NH Legislature continue to work on their budgets.