Political Tourists Flock to See Democracy in Action
By Juliet Eilperin
WINDHAM, N.H. -- Call them political tourists, the men and women who have trekked to New Hampshire from their home states to see the candidates in person, even if they can't vote for them.
Donna Horton said her partner Lou Maurelli -- whose jacket was emblazoned with stickers from the campaigns of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, former senator John Edwards, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and Democratic Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama -- said New Hampshire gave them a chance to view the presidential hopefuls in a way they couldn't in their home state. "You don't get access to the candidates in New York," said Horton, a Democrat.
George Baker, an independent from New Canaan, Conn., and Paul Bryant, a Republican from New Canaan, said they were planning to hit at least four campaigns yesterday -- Huckabee's, Romney's, Obama's and Clinton's. If they were lucky, they hoped to make it to see Sen. John McCain and Rep. Ron Paul.
"That will be tight," Baker said.
"That's the equivalent of winning the lottery," Bryant said.
They've done it before: Baker saw McCain in 2000, and even got to shake George W. Bush's hand before he became president.
While it makes sense that New Englanders would be willing to make the short drive to the Granite State, even D.C. area residents have made the schlep this weekend. Galen Stocking and Lauren Judy of Arlington have been doing the rounds, checking out Huckabee as well as Obama, Edwards and both Hillary and Bill Clinton.
Judy said she was particularly amazed at Hillary Clinton's ability to take so many queries from voters on Saturday during a town hall meeting. "I was really impressed at Clinton's ability to answer questions, and her grasp of policy," she said. "She had a five-point plan for everything."
But Maurelli, who heard Clinton's husband speak Saturday, said he wished this year's political lineup was a little different. "After hearing Bill speak, I was thinking, 'Can I vote for him?'"
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