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Player of the Week: Paul Hodes

For a politician, living in New Hampshire can have its privileges. It's particularly advantageous in presidential election years, when candidates come to your state, hat in hand, and are more than happy to share the stage with you.

So life has been good this year for freshman Rep. Paul Hodes (D), and never more so than today, when he got to host the much-ballyhooed Democratic "Unity" rally in his Granite State district with Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Hodes gave the first speech of the rally, got to stay on stage and even snagged some quality time with both the Democratic nominee and the runner-up. "I kicked the rally off and welcomed people to my district, and helped fire the crowd up," Hodes told Capitol Briefing after the event.

Not that the crowd needed much firing up. As Hodes pointed out, the lines to get in stretched down the hill from the open field where the rally was staged in Unity, a small, rural town (Hodes' cell phone wouldn't even work there) smack in the middle of the 2nd congressional district where Obama and Clinton each earned 107 votes during the January Democratic primary.

"I thought Senator Clinton gave a beautiful speech. She was very gracious and really moving," Hodes said. "Barack was powerful and uplifting."

Afterwards, Hodes said, he and his wife, Peggo, were fortunate enough to take a short walk with Obama to "catch up." The men certainly know each other; Hodes was an early Obama backer, endorsing him in July 2007.

Obama ended up winning Hodes' district in the primary, while Clinton took the 1st district and the state as a whole. At Obama's primary night party in Nashua, Hodes had the same role as he did at today's rally, giving the kickoff speech at the event.

Exciting as today was for Hodes, it's all in an election year day's work for a New Hampshire politician. "Having been in New Hampshire for a long time, many of us have been in presidential politics for a long time" and are used to attention from the candidates, Hodes said.

Of course, Hodes is a candidate too, running now for a second term in the House after ousting veteran GOP Rep. Charles Bass in a tight race in 2006. Republicans are looking to win the seat back, though Hodes appears to be favored against all of his potential challengers.

The 2nd district has its share of Clinton supporters, and plenty of voters there like Sen. John McCain too. Does Hodes think his support for Obama might hurt him at all in November?

"I took an early stand, and I think in New Hampshire the people recognize and appreciate when an elected official stands up for what they believe in," Hodes said. "That is true whether they necessarily agree with all my politics or not."

By Ben Pershing  |  June 27, 2008; 4:03 PM ET
Categories:  2008 Campaign , Player of the Week  
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"I think in New Hampshire the people recognize and appreciate when an elected official stands up for what they believe in"

Obama didn't carry New Hampshire. Maybe that explains why.

-Wm Tate,

Posted by: Wm Tate | June 28, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

This story by the other WAPO Obama Shill
Ben Pershing should be corrected to tell
the Truth about Sell Out Hillary Clinton,
and how desperate liar Barack Hussein Obama
is about his daily declining chances of
Obama ever being elected President and about how Hillary Clinton is as big a liar
as Obama! NOBAMA

Posted by: Claudine 1000 | June 30, 2008 1:23 AM | Report abuse

So, I agree that Hillary Clinton sold her
supporters out,when Clinton endorsed Obama
and I will now never trust Hillary Clinton
again,let alone ever vote for her and I
will never vote for Barack Hussein Obama.
No Way Barack Hussein Obama,

Posted by: Sherry Kay 2004 | June 30, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

And their little dogs, too! [cackle, cackle]

Is it Claudine of the West and Sherry Kay of the East, or the other way around?

Posted by: Gringocho | June 30, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

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