Dan is a ConVal graduate who has done amazing things with his life since high school. He is eminently qualified to help run New Hampshire. I had the privilege of photographing Dan for some of his promotional materials.
Water, Water Everywhere…should I take a drink?
When Bernie talks, like many speakers and candidates on the presidential campaign trail, he has a bottle of water nearby, as in the photo above. However, that hasn’t always been the case. If we think back to early 2013, a young Marco Rubio was giving the GOP response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address and ducked off camera to get a bottle of water. Rubio’s Water Shed Moment While it is natural to need a drink while talking, the response to Rubio’s duck and drink made politicians shy away from drinking in public. Bernie wasn’t outside of this reaction.
Back in September, Bernie marched in the Labor Day parade in Milford, NH. It was a clear sunny day and the temperature was 95˚+. It was hot, hot, hot. Lindsay Graham was there, Carly Fiorino was there, John Kasich was there…all were there with their supporters to woo the support of Milford voters and everyone was sweating. I was there, too. And yes, the pavement was hot. I was thirsty. I noticed that Bernie wasn’t drinking even in this extreme heat. As I was taking photos of Bernie, I asked his security person if Bernie was hydrating…”No, he doesn’t want to be seen as weak not being able to handle the heat,” was his reply. So, I saw Phil Fiermonte, Bernie’s “long time campaign manager” on the other side of the street; I went over to him and asked if Bernie was going to drink. He gave me the same line trying to scoff at me like “we have this under control…don’t worry, old fella.” So, being a former school teacher and administrator got my means business face and voice in gear and I looked him right in the face and said…”If Bernie passes out from heat exhaustion and is laying on the pavement all of you can pack up and go home cause the campaign will be over.” He looked at me…eyes wide…grabbed a bottle of water, walked over to Bernie and had him drink. Since then Bernie hasn’t been without a water bottle.
It hasn’t been a smooth transition to treating this 74 year old candidate appropriately. With so many young staffers around, none knowing what it means or is like to be 74, they struggled to help Bernie appropriately. Two weeks after the Milford parade, at the NH Democratic State Convention in Manchester, I noticed that an aide brought a water bottle out and put it on the floor next to the rostrum where Bernie was going to speak shortly. However, it was a 2 liter bottle…HUGE! and on the floor. Bernie came out to give his talk. After a few minutes of talking he wanted a drink and bent over to get the bottle at his feet…fumbled with this 2 liter bottle and finally didn’t drink and looked disgusted and continued his talk without the benefit of a moist mouth.
His staff was asking the candidate, trying to look Presidential, to bend over, pick up a large water bottle at his feet, take off the cap and drink out of it without spilling and put it back down and keep the attention of his audience. Even the most youthful candidate couldn’t do that gracefully. That night when I got home I emailed my contact at the Sander’s campaign, Nick Carter, and told him about the incident. He emailed me back saying that he had passed the info along to the appropriate staff and they will get on top of it. Since then, Bernie has had his water, at table height, in a smaller bottle and no one is condemning him for having a swig. In Keene on Tuesday, there was a reasonable size bottle of water in the rostrum. Bernie without shame took it out and placed it on the top of the rostrum for all to see and marvel at.
So, the long and the short of it is…if Bernie wins or however far he gets in the whole process of running for the most important job in the world…he will have me to thank for getting him water when he needs it. I wonder if that guarantees me an invite to the inauguration?
Governor John Kasich of Ohio has been getting a lot attention recently from the newspapers of New Hampshire; six of the seven dailies in New Hampshire are endorsing the governor for the GOP nomination. The Boston Globe also has thrown its pages in Kasich’s direction and yesterday, The New York Times joined that band of supporters. Does it matter? Do papers carry the same sway they used to, if they ever did? One thing in the gov’s favor is that newspapers don’t have to respond instantly to every new utterance from a candidate to make a comment or an endorsement. Papers have the luxury of thinking about what they say before they say it. Editorial boards sit around and have discussions about the merits of the various candidates before announcing their support for a particular candidate. Kasich has had the good fortune of coming out on top of those discussions. The voters don’t get their news from the papers as they once did and TV and radio stations aren’t known for endorsing candidates in primaries, not that they don’t tilt the news in one direction or another. When voters actually take the time to do some reflective thinking like newspaper editors, will they bend toward Kasich? We will soon see.
The governor was in Peterborough last evening to address local citizens. A reflective thinker couldn’t come away from that meeting without considering John Kasich to be a very plausible candidate. Very much a Republican, he is also a problem solver. Contrasting him against the other GOP candidates he is the only one that I have heard discuss how everyone in DC will have to work together in order to solve some of the massive problems facing the nation. Kasich has a very successful record in Ohio…will the GOP primary voters listen? Do they want solutions? Do they care? I don’t think the Democratic National Committee wants to see a Kasich/Clinton or Kasich/Sanders campaign. If I were a Republican, I would vote Kasich next week.
This morning I was listening to NPR’s Diane Rehm Show when they were discussing the difference between Hillary’s and Bernie’s events. “the feel in Hillary’s events is one of obligation whereas in Bernie’s events you get a sense of passion.” Bernie isn’t about fluff, he is about substance, ideas, the future, helping middle America and people who go to his events are there because they too see many things in the country that need changing and are looking to this new face to lead those chose changes. These photos were taken in Peterborough, New Hampshire yesterday.
Today I received an email from the Hillary campaign which to me demonstrates the passion with which Bernie supporters see him.
There’s something that’s been keeping me up at night lately: Every national poll of this election shows that we have significantly more supporters than Bernie Sanders does, but way more of his supporters are stepping up and donating to his campaign.
That may have been OK in the run-up to voting, but we’re down to the wire here, and it’s time for everyone to step up.
If you’re with Hillary, can you chip in $1 to show it today? With the polls this close, there’s never been a more important time:”
Bernie’s supporters are WAY MORE stepping up and donating…putting their money where there heart is.
Last week I was having dinner with my son and his boyfriend, Craig when, amazingly, our discussion turned to politics. Craig, an avid Hillary supporter and knowing my heart belongs to Bernie, began making light of and belittling Bernie’s campaign and particularly attacking his hand gestures. Naturally, I took umbrage. Yesterday, my friend Joe and I went to see Bernie in Peterborough, NH, just ten miles down the road. Sitting in the front row we had a clear view of the man and his gestures. Successful politicians often have unique and identifiable gestures: Bill Clinton always laid his thumb in his index finger to make a point, JFK often stuck his hand in his suit coat pocket with the thumb sticking out. Some of these gestures look like they came from campaign consultants rather than a natural inclination of the candidate. Bernie often talks with his hands. While at first one might find his hand motions an interesting trait, one soon realizes that this is Bernie. His hands punctuate his passion about his ideas. No one can question Bernie’s passion about his ideas: income inequality, equal pay for equal work, campaign finance reform, free tuition at public colleges, living wages, addressing climate destruction, medicare for all, healthcare reform, reforming Wall Street…
Craig’s comments about Bernie and his gestures reminded me of what candidates often do when they feel threatened; instead of arguing the issues, they make personal attacks on their opponent. In latest New Hampshire poll, Bernie is ahead of Hillary by 21% points. Hillary and her supporters are panicking and they too are beginning to not ignore Bernie any longer but attacking him, often personally…sorry Craig but you might want to try feeling the Bern.
It was midmorning on MLK Day and I just thought I would take a look on the NHPR.com website to see what candidates were doing for the day. I quickly noticed that Rafael “Ted” Cruz was going to be 15 miles up the road in Washington in about an hour.Washington is one of my favorite towns. I am sure it has its challenges but on the surface it looks like a great little community: old clapboard homes lining Route 31, the one general store, the gazebo on the village green, a few flags fluttering in the frosty breeze. I don’t need a reason to drive up there. Without any other plans in motion, I quickly grabbed the camera and was out the door to the quintessential New England village to see “the next president of the United States…” Ted was on a whole state tour visiting small towns and holding “town meetings” with area residents. Ted’s bus was already there, having held a town meeting in Keene earlier in the day. Loaded with my honkin’ big camera, I wander up to his bus and take my position with two other photographers. Thinking they were the only other ones there as there were no TV trucks or other evidence of media and the building at Camp Morgan was small. The host introduced me to Walter Morse “the best state cop we ever had.” Several people asked Walter if he was supporting Ted but Walter said in a halting New Hampshire accent, “haven’t made up my mind yet.” Moments later the bus door opens and trailing a few aides, out steps the candidate, Rafael Cruz. Pleasant smiles, a few hand shakes and in the building he went…followed by me. Inside what turned out to be the kitchen for the camp was about 30 reporters, videographers and camera dudes. The candidate stood in front of the Ted Cruz backdrop and started fielding questions. Thoughtfully, he passionately answered their queries. “One last question” and Ted stepped away from the reporters and stood next to me. The media crowd filed into the hall where there were about 100 people waiting to hear Rafael. I was pleased to see there was room to move around, thus knowing I would probably get some good photos. I positioned myself just outside the kitchen door to get a photo of the candidate coming into the room. There he was poised to tell these people why he should be the next most powerful leader in the world, standing in a camp kitchen in rural New Hampshire. A flood of thoughts came over me. But looking at him, and him looking at me, as I was the first person closest to the door, I was struck by how shy he looked. “Will they like me?” “Will they understand me?” “What am I doing here?” He entered the room, waving before he was introduced and then people finally seeing him acknowledged his presence with applause. Ted, smiling awkwardly, entered the room and shook hands with people along the aisle: sort of engaging them, but not really. He doesn’t seem to smile easily and often looks ill-at-ease when he does so. He finally made it to the platform and looked relieved to be there in his domain. His opening line: “I am so happy to be here in Washington…New Hampshire rather than Washington DC.” And based on a few chuckles among the gathered Ted launched into his 40 minute talk which sounds a bit like the creation of the world. “On my first day in office I will repeal everyone of President Obama’s illegal executive orders…and reverse the persecution of religious groups (and several other items) and that’s on my first day” “and in coming days, I will…rebuild the military” “and in coming days, I will…ban Common Core…” And on and on it went until the world was made whole again. Once that was accomplished he then took questions from the audience. There were the usual questions one hears…how will you protect our 2nd Amendment rights? how will you protect Christians in other countries who are being persecuted? What will you do to protect our borders?… It was about this time I decided to leave to get to the Trump event. As I was heading out through the parking lot to my car, two police officers smiled as I approached and said, “should we assume that you didn’t like what you were hearing?” “No, I’ve heard it all before.” And with that I was gone.
These guys on the lower left of this photo are the three Maine college students I saw later on at the Trump rally. The student in the pink shirt with the blue vest had a good story. He had gone to a GOP student convention where all the candidates were wooing their support. He was standing at a refreshment table when he got a pat on the back. He turned to see an older gent smiling and saying, “nice to see you here.” The older guy had a lazy eye which kind of distorted his face and distracted the student from hearing anything else he was saying…so the student looked for the quickest opportunity to leave the food table. Moments later he was informed that he had just been talking to was former Governor George Pataki of NY. Pataki is no longer seeking the nomination…could it be the lazy eye syndrome that doomed his national plans?
How better to observe MLKing Day than by spending it with one of America’s most noted carnival barkers. The Donald rolled into Concord, NH Monday, to stage a rally at the Concord High School. One thing that the Trump people do is to keep the room orderly: rows of chairs, bleachers pulled out, no wandering the aisles…the world as it should be. It was bitterly cold out 17˚ with a stiff wind. Waiting in line to get in ahead of me were a young couple of girls, who attended Concord High. They were coming to see if a Trump rally was everything they had heard about and they were hoping to get some extra credit for writing an essay about their day. There were three college guys from Maine there, too. I picked them out as I had seen them at the Cruz “Cruzin’ to Victory” bus tour rally in Washington, NH earlier in the day. I spoke with them as I had taken their photos at the Cruz event and wanted to let them know they could get a copy…they wanted it. I got to speak with them and found that they were active college Republicans in Maine. One was the president of the Maine College Republicans. At my previous Trump event in Claremont, I had entered as a press photographer, this time I decided to be a common citizen and am glad I did. In Claremont, if you had a press pass you were corralled into the press area and not aloud to wander or get close to his “maneness.” So, as a regular attendee I was able to get up close to himself and get some decent photos which I hadn’t been able to in the previous rally. As I sat in the bleachers waiting for the rally to begin, I could see Trump’s storm troopers gathering up all the errant photographers and videographers around the gym and sending them to the press pen. I guess I sort of chuckled up my sleeve at having planned to outsmart the Trump goons.
Anyhow, once the main attraction was announced things went sort of as planned. He demonstrated that he has a nasty case of ADD and his topics bounced all over the place and back again. It was worth a smile. He spoke for about 30 minutes then turned to his microphone ushers to get the mics to the people asking questions. Hands went up all over the room…but the only two questions asked where from the front row and were planned questions from the VIP section. The ushers were behind the fence protecting himself and didn’t have the ability to go any further around the room. It was a rather sad staged event. At one point in the show, Donald asked for everyone who was planning on voting for him to raise their hand…perhaps 25% of the audience did so…he quickly moved on. The final event was his announcing that his daughter Ivanka had come to New Hampshire to see the good people of the state. This is the daughter who when he was on The View he said if she wasn’t his daughter, he would “date” her. Ivanka’s husband, Jared, was introduced as well. Ivanka has changed a bit since I met her when she was a student at Choate School in Connecticut back in 1998. Quite pregnant with her third child, she made a gracious endorsement of her dad.
David Burnett is one of the legends of photography over the last 50 years. I am pleased to call him my friend. Back when I was just beginning teaching government he was recording some great moments in politics. This 1976 photo of Governor Jimmy Carter on a chair in a New Hampshire kitchen graphically and iconically demonstrates how much primary politics has changed in NH. Carter created a revolution in politics by discovering the value of the Iowa caucuses and capitalizing on his win he got there he went on to win in NH the nomination and election. David was there…and then he followed me at the Trump rally in Claremont 40 years later: January 5, 2016. http://www.davidburnett.com
Amidst tuna salad, ham, roast beef and chicken and egg salad sandwiches, Carly Fiorino met with area residents at the Deering Town Hall in Deering, NH on Friday. A classic town hall, though updated, it had the stage backdrop of a tranquil scene surrounded by ads for local businesses. It was a quintessential New England setting for the event.
I have several observations of the event and campaign. Carly has appointed Ovide Lamontagne as her state chairman and was introduced by Marilinda Garcia. Ovide is the twice defeated GOP candidate for governor. Each defeat was by nearly 20 percentage points, Marilinda was defeated for congress in 2014 by 10 percentage points. Both Ovide and Marilinda tried to make analogies between their campaigns and Carly’s…they didn’t work. Carly has yet to win a campaign and neither of her key supporters have either.
Carly entered, was reserved in her comments. She talked about accountability, like she faced as CEO of Hewlett-Packard. She pulled a distraction on an over statement. She said she had made HP “the” most successful tech company…then paused as some new people came in and welcomed them. When she returned to her comment she restated that she had made HP “one” of the most successful tech companies.
She then when on to discuss her Blueprint to take our country back saying that while there are lot of things to do to take the country back, these six things she sees as the most important. She then said that these would be her goals for the first two years. I am not sure that it a realistic goal. But she isn’t the first candidate to not have realistic goals.
In taking questions she seemed to make those asking them content with her answer, though in some cases she didn’t answer the question and moved on to the next when the questioner wanted to followup. The most pointed response came to a question about Roe v Wade and women’s rights. The questioner asking if she supported women’s rights to control their own bodies and would appoint justices who do. Rather than talking about women’s rights in general, Carly focused only on abortion and told the woman that she probably won’t be voting for her as she supports life at conception, no exceptions. As this photo shows, Carly looked a bit bored with the questioner in this instance.
Her departure left me a bit dismayed. Other candidates who have had to leave for other appointments will say to those trying to ask questions that they apologize for leaving. Carly, with a dozen or more people waiting to talk to her simply turned, put on her coat and left without saying anything to those waiting. The reaction from those people wasn’t on the positive side.