The New Hampshire Democratic Party was kind enough to let me cover some of their Midterm Convention, which the Union Leader's Gerry Raynor recaps here. Quick impressions:
– Hillary Clinton's money has been spent on hiring approximately 10,000 athletic, purposeful-looking college students (or recent grads) and training them in the ways of handing out merch. Are you feeling a little warm? Here comes a Hillary volunteer with a Hillary Fan. Do you want a Hillary sign? Here comes a small army of volunteers criss-crossing the auditorium to hand you one, so numerous they block out the sun fluorescent lights.
– (Frontrunning) U.S. Senate candidate Katrina Swett's slogan is—seriously—"Make Your Senator Swett." Raise your hand if you've ever wanted to watch a senator sweat.
– The Swett slogan makes more sense when you realize how the NH Dems are gunning for Sen. John Sununu. Most speakers (including Joe Biden and both Democratic congresspeople) made a reference to Sununu's impending defeat. Current and once-removed party chairs Ray Buckley and Kathy Sullivan tried to convince me that Sununu doesn't deserve libertarian votes (Buckley minimized his impact on the 2005-2006 PATRIOT Act revisions) and that he won his seat via dirty tricks, in the form of Republican phone jamming attacks on Democratic phone banks. At the same time, Sullivan didn't seem confident that the current Democratic candidates could beat Sununu, and is urging former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen to seek a rematch.
– When Sen. Mike Gravel heard what magazine I was from, here's how he responded:
I knew Gravel supports a consumption tax, but I blurted out "flat tax." This "ambushing candidates with a video camera" business is harder than it looks. But the response was worth it this time. Answering me, Gravel grabbed my arm to make it absolutely clear what he thinks of the flat tax.