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Arkansas Travelers Flock to N.H.

By Juliet Eilperin
NASHUA, N.H. -- In a campaign landscape filled with passionate believes -- the Ron Paul supporters lining the streets, the young Obamamaniacs dancing in school gymnasiums across the state -- few can match the grit of the Arkansas Travelers.

Three-hundred strong, they have known Bill and Hillary Clinton for decades, since their time in Arkansas. They first formed in 1992, when Bill Clinton was struggling to make a comeback in the New Hampshire primary. Now, 15 years later, 74 of them have come back in the Granite State, holding Hillary signs and telling voters about the junior senator from New York's more personal side.

Rose Crane, who grew up with the former president in Hot Springs, can tell you everything from the program Hillary Clinton brought to Arkansas to help poor mothers nurture their toddlers to her work championing higher education standards in the mid-80s.

"She didn't just talk about change, but produced it in the fifteen years she was First Lady," she said.

And for those who see Clinton as impersonal, Crane has a ready story of how the former First Lady gave up her favorite diet sodas when she became pregnant with Chelsea.

"Hillary is one of the most nurturing, conscientious and attentive parents I have ever known," she said. "We both used to drink Tabs. From the moment she found out she was pregnant, she would not drink a Tab because she wasn't sure whether the artificial sugar would be bad for the baby. Toward the end of her pregnancy, someone asked her what she wanted and she said 'More than anything, I would like a great big glass of ice with Tab, but I won't do that, for my baby.'"

Carrying that personal message hasn't been easy: Crane and her compatriots were staying in the Best Western in Nashua, until the hotel burned down the other night. They salvaged their belonging the best they could, and relocated to Massachusetts.

"That was an extra bonus from here," Crane said, laughing.

And no matter what happens here today, the Arkansas Travelers are convinced Clinton will win the nomination, and part of their contingent will be headed to South Carolina.

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 8, 2008; 12:45 PM ET
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As a voter in the State of NH I had the opportunity of meeting and helping to provide what hospitality was available for the Arkansas Travelers during their recent visit to Portsmouth. I can honestly say that they were the nicest people I have encountered and had the pleasure of meeting in a long time, much less in the tense atmosphere that existed in this closely contested primary. Having divided my time between county and city with the majority of time in the city in my life I will say that these people were a delight to work with and showed showed a level of grace and sophistication that most of us city types can only admire, and hope to acquire. I hope we'll see them again in November!

Posted by: sephillips10 | January 13, 2008 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Well Maw, we done arrived in the Big City!

That there building has THREE Floors!

Don't be lettin none of these here slickers take advantage now heah?

Posted by: rat-the | January 8, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

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