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An N.H. Pocket of Progressivism

By Joel Achenbach
LEBANON, N.H. -- John Edwards had way too many people turn out for the small room at Lebanon High School where he was to speak, so the crowd spilled over into the gym and listened to his stump speech on a loudspeaker. That was kind of lame (did the Edwards team fear that they couldn't fill the gym? that a camera might pick up empty seats in the background?), and to make up for it, Edwards showed up briefly in the gym for a demonstration of his set-shot prowess.

No snark is intended when we report that he has a pretty shot -- a smooth stroke with excellent ball rotation. He clanged a few off the back of the rim and blamed the ball ("I need a boy's ball! This is a girl's ball!"), but eventually he got warmed up and sank four in a row from just beyond foul-shot distance.

This part of New Hampshire is progressive -- it's practically Vermont, to the point that Vermonters were all over the event today. Many progressives all over New Hampshire may be thinking strategically about Tuesday's vote. Both Barack Obama and Edwards are viewed as progressive -- and Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, too -- but many voters today told me they want to make sure that Hillary doesn't win. So even if they like Edwards or Kucinich more, they might vote for Obama in hopes that he'll beat Hillary Clinton.

"I think she's a Republican in sheep's clothing," said Kate Devine, a physician in the Upper Valley (of the Connecticut River) town of Lyme. She likes Kucinich's policies and Chris Dodd's verve. People in this area, which includes Hanover, home to Dartmouth College, "tend to vote more like Vermonters. Even though the student population of Dartmouth is very conservative, the faculty and staff is less so."

Pat McGovern, a retired teacher from here in Lebanon, said of Clinton, "I feel like she's part of the entrenched interests."

"I'm deciding whether I'll vote with my heart and vote for Kucinich, or vote for a more electable candidate," said Karen Swanson, a librarian from Andover.

"I will not vote for Hillary Clinton," said John Corrigan, a "hard-core Democrat" in Concord. "I'm looking for the progressive alternative to Hillary Clinton. That could be Obama or it could be Edwards."

This isn't a scientific survey, of course. And Jesse Wolfson, 22, a Yale student from Hanover who will vote Tuesday, told me he thinks the national news media have been vicious in their coverage of Sen. Clinton.

But he's voting for Edwards, for sure.

By Post Editor  |  January 5, 2008; 4:24 PM ET
Categories:  Joel's New Hampshire Diary  
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Unfair, petty and sexist better capture the national media's coverage of Hillary than "vicious". That said, I had a great conversation with Joel, focused more on why the national press has been so intent on billing the democratic primary as a two way race (Obama-Clinton), which also speaks poorly about Edwards' press effort, and I'm happy the WaPo did have Joel covering the Edwards event today.

Posted by: jesse.wolfson | January 5, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

I am sure than Vermont voters, who are by now licking the wound, which Howard Dean election's failure caused them, should inspire NH voters and show Mrs. Clinton clearly and loudly her way out of this race by giving her the DISTANT third place after Obama and Edwards.

Posted by: aepelbaum | January 5, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Mrs. Clinton program is not progressive, and never was. The record of her votes as a senator is the closest to Bush policies as any other contenders, whether Republican or Democrats, could show. Mrs. Clinton is fully unsuitable to become our next president because of that, and also because of her very unpleasant personal qualities, as she is very high handed, very narrow-minded, very aggressive, and fully untrustworthy. So, actually traditional democratic voters and also independent and republican - should stick with Obama and/or Edwards, if they REALLY want progressive changes. I-personally find Obama more attractive and more suitable to be our next president, and I would vote for him as soon as primaries would reach to my own state. But the faster Clinton is out of this race, the more normal the atmosphere and attitude of this election would be. So, I hope that NH voters would give her this third place, as Iowa's voters already did, showing her the way out of race, as it was shown to Howard Dean because of her actions, though he, sure, in difference with her, didn't deserve such treatment, and his election's failure was the county's deepest mistake, which caused us to lose a lot of young lives, not mentioning other casualties. Please, NH voters, show Mrs. Clinton her way out! It is really more than enough of her despicable presence, is it not?

Posted by: aepelbaum | January 5, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

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