(photo credit: REUTERS)
KEENE – At a rally in New Hampshire’s capital, Concord, on Saturday, pledged supporters of former US secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton expressed an unusual hope for the Democratic national front-runner currently running in second by double-digits in the Granite State: Let it be 2008 all over again.
Words, to be sure, the former senator and first lady does not often hear.
That year, competing against then-senator Barack Obama, Clinton lost her fight for the nomination. But she defied weeks of polls in New Hampshire – which showed her behind by as many as 13 points – and ultimately won the primary here by a margin of 2.6 percent.
“She can do it again,” said Edward Kimmel, an avid fan, fresh off campaigning for the candidate in Iowa.
Leading a chant – “I say ‘madame,’ you say ‘president’” – Kimmel stood to the side and explained his support.
“We have the chance to vote for the most experienced candidate in the history of the United States.”
Once again, the polls find her behind her opponent – Bernie Sanders, the senator from neighboring Vermont – by as many as 16 points.
But one supporter at her rally questioned the reliability of the figure.
“For months, we get five or six calls a night from pollsters, and by the end of the process we’re just making stuff up,” said Mary Ruedig, a former teacher and Concord resident.
Women dominated this crowd, both young and old, some holding pink signs doled out by Planned Parenthood staff. An overflow room housed the bulk of the crowd, where voters viewed her stump speech as they often do: televised.
Retail politics will continue through this primary season for at least another month, as South Carolinians and Nevadans cast their votes. But some candidates, real estate mogul Donald J. Trump chief among them, have skipped that sort of electioneering altogether.
Few have dropped by Lindy’s Diner in Keene – generally a staple campaign stop for presidential candidates. While Texas Sen.
Ted Cruz, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie all made appearances, neither Sanders nor Clinton have stopped in, according to the staff.
And Trump? “It’s not big enough,” said one waitress who doesn’t plan to vote. “He only goes to spaces that fit thousands of people.” •