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DinerCam: Richardson Shakes Hands, Eats Bacon, Talks Baseball

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You've heard plenty of reporters, analysts and New Hampshire natives talk about "retail politics." Now here's your chance to see it for yourself.

Our citizen journalists at the Red Arrow Diner in Manchester, N.H. used their "DinerCam" to record Gov. Bill Richardson's (D-N.M.) visit last Sunday. (Read more about our Blue Plate Politics project.)

The governor worked his way up the diner counter, shaking hands, and slapping backs. One man congratulated Richardson for securing the remains of Korean War veterans. Another man told Richardson, "You're a good guy," while a woman nearby stared at her food, ignoring the candidate completely. Richardson talked early primary state strategy with another interested voter, and consoled a libertarian voter at the far end of the counter -- "You're a libertarian? That's alright."

After addressing the breakfast crowd, Richardson took a seat at a booth with three interested voters, sharing a detailed recap of the Red Sox no-hitter he attended the night before. Then the former baseball pitcher signed and passed out Bill Richardson campaign baseball cards, while recounting his visit with Saddam Hussein, and his travels across the Middle East as energy secretary.

What may seem most shocking to folks beyond New Hampshire is how "normal" this process seems to the customers sitting at booths around Richardson. Everyone seemed to take the Sunday morning political interruption in stride, accepting it as one of the things that makes Granite State politics so special.

-- Ed O'Keefe

By Ed O'Keefe  |  September 7, 2007; 7:21 AM ET
 
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