Dining With McCain Fans
By Joel Achenbach
NASHUA, N.H., 8:45 a.m.--Just ducked into Joanne's Kitchen and Coffee Shoppe, a landmark (read: older than the White Mountains) diner on Main Street. It's a converted trolley car, moved here, according to waitress Kathy Flis, from Massachusetts in 1927. Lots of laminated black-and-white photos and news clippings on the walls. Fifteen stools. Eight booths. Cheap food. A guy a few stools down just said, "Didn't die last night, because my name's not in the paper."
You know it's a good joint because the former mayor, Bernie Streeter (he left office just yesterday), is sitting in the back booth, talking politics. Streeter's a McCain guy.
"It really shifted about seven days ago," Streeter says. "The McCain people are really coming out of the woodwork. They realize the guy they supported eight years ago is in a horse race."
That would be with Mitt Romney, who'll be at the country club, talking to Rotarians, at noon. Rudy Giuliani's going to be right down the street at Jackie's Diner (much newer place) at 11 a.m.
And McCain just had a brief rally, hardly more than a photo op (cameras may have outnumbered citizens), a block away, on the steps of City Hall, where John F. Kennedy made his first campaign stop on Jan. 25, 1960. It seemed like half the news crews were from some exotic land. Spanish newspaper reporter Carlos Fresneda of El Mundo said that his country was "obsessed" with the Hillary Clinton candidacy and the possibility of the first woman president, but suddenly everyone's talking about Obama -- "There's a lot of talk that Obama is the black JFK."
A familiar face in the Nashua crowd: Dave Tiffany, the antiwar protester who grilled McCain on Thursday night in Derry, showed up again and this time shook the candidate's hand, thanking him for "letting me fulfill my role in this election." Tiffany would never vote for McCain, but said, "He's a really nice man." He hopes McCain clocks Romney tomorrow.
Polls show a tight race. Romney did very well last night in the Republican debate/forum, according to the pundits gathered at the Wayfarer bar afterward. But my friend David Von Drehle of Time magazine thinks it's remarkable how much trouble Romney has been having lately with Republican voters: "Filled up the dish, put it on the floor, and the dog just won't eat it."
Cross-posted to Joel's Achenblog.
Washington Post editors
January 7, 2008; 10:51 AM ET
Categories: Joel's New Hampshire Diary
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