Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Primary Eve Report

It was bumper to bumper traffic yesterday on Elm Street, the main drag in Manchester, New Hampshire. It was primary eve and the city was crawling with candidates--and media and media. Christmas lights have been replaced by the constant glow of klieg lights brightening up the night sky. I'm sure Public Service of New Hampshire, the local power utility, is going to have a pretty profitable month--along with every television station in the state. No word on the primary's carbon footprint yet, but Al Gore wouldn't be too happy.

Here's a tip if you ever want to get your name in print or on TV: go to New Hampshire the day before the primary and declare yourself as an undecided voter. The media swarm around you will be as fierce as the summer mosquitoes on Lake Winnipesaukee. John McCain held a rally at City Hall Plaza in Manchester yesterday afternoon. There must have been as many media people there trolling to find that elusive undecided voter as actual voters. The guy next to me got interviewed by three different outlets in the course of 45 minutes.

It was interesting to see the crowd for McCain, the presumptive Republican front-runner in New Hampshire, a day after seeing Hillary Clinton, who is supposedly in a free-fall. There was no comparison between crowd sizes. The McCain crowd was probably only a few hundred people compared to the 3,000 or so who have turned out for Obama and Clinton. The McCain rally was held on Monday, not Sunday, but Manchester was crawling with people so I'm not sure if that was a factor in the crowd size or not. I think it's fair to say though that overall there's more buzz and energy among the Democrats at this point than the Republican candidates. It will be interesting to see what happens tonight.

The scene inside the Radisson hotel in Manchester was jumping yesterday afternoon. MSNBC was broadcasting Hardball from the lobby, C-SPAN had guests coming in and out of their studio, the local FOX affiliate was doing their newscast on the convention center side, and a whole bunch of radio stations were set up inside. Plus, there were ABC and NBC anchors everywhere you looked. Matt Lauer, Brian Williams, Chris Matthews, Tim Russert were all in and out of the hotel. Not sure if anyone is left back at 30 Rock.

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