The Undecideds: Hanging with Huntsman, Occupiers, and People Who Don't Know Shit in New Hampshire

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Enough with all the bullshit about how much New Hampshire residents know about politics. And about how everyone who lives here has had numerous dinner dates with each of the candidates, in which they've discussed Iranian nuclear proliferation over porterhouses. It's nonsense, and if you don't believe me, then ask any average “undecided” voter what they think of Rick Santorum's foreign policy, or Ron Paul's vintage collection of Nike Airs.

New Hampshire folks by and large aren't Iowa stupid. But my experience here is that the media loves to exaggerate their political astuteness, and that in turn, they relish the label much more than they like reading up on the issues. When you're told how great and smart you are as much as Granite Staters are every four years, you're just bound to believe it.

My first full day up here started with a Jon Huntsman walk-thru of the Puritan Backroom in Manchester. He should have come in and met some of the salt-of-the-earth mashed potato eaters, as none of the few people who I spoke with had ever heard of him. But instead the candidate ordered lunch, posed for some pics, and then split for his campaign headquarters.

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I hate to use one anecdotal observation to gauge the buzz around a candidate, but not many onlookers at the Puritan seemed to give a shit. There were maybe five signs in the place total; the wait staff couldn't wait to get it over with; when Huntsman failed to enter his own party (the event was billed for the Backroom, but he got take-out up front), no one really seemed disappointed.

Perhaps I wasn't the only one there who'd also gotten word that three Ron Paul supporters were on Elm Street in downtown Manchester riding horses holding Tea Party flags. I couldn't wait to get the fuck out of the Puritan, waiting for the one GOP candidate who's not prone to despicable racist and homophobic craziness. We bounced right after Huntsman, and hit the strip in stride.

I wasn't at the Occupy the Primaries camp on Elm Street but 10 minutes when word shot around that a march was about to break. More on the New Hampshire Occupy scene later on and all through the weekend, but I'd be remiss to overlook their massive presence. Eight years ago when I came here, “bloggers” were the big story. Four years ago, it was still “bloggers.” This year it's sure to be Occupy.

Owly Images

Needing to get off my feet for a minute, I brought the Phoenix squad to J.W. Hill's, which is located right in the heart of Manch, and directly next to the Occupy camp. I expected to rap about candidates with locals, maybe even get a read on the race from my server. But unfortunately, every tube in the place was tuned to the Bruins game. I guess they're the undecideds everybody's talking about.

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