Friday, March 30, 2007

Why Doesn't Giuliani Like Bloggers? Part II

Or, a more appropriate title might be, Why Doesn't Giuliani Like Granting Access to New Hampshire Voters?

Hiz Honor is coming back to New Hampshire on April 2 and 3rd. This is his first trip to the Granite State since he gave a speech here in January.

That's a long time between visits. A real long time.

And, New Hampshire voters remember these things.

But, Rudy is coming back to New Hampshire next week so all will be forgiven and forgotten right?


Hiz Honor's "visit" to New Hampshire next week is nothing more than a Chamber of Commerce breakfast in Portsmouth (read: built in audience in a hyper controlled environment) and a fundraising "something or other" at a Giuliani campaign staffer's house.

2 events. One is a fundraiser. One is a speech in front of a Chamber audience. That's it.

Can you say "New York Velvet Rope Access"?

It sounds like Hiz Honor doesn't understand how New Hampshire voters expect their candidates to campaign. Maybe the NH Gang of 15 should explain it to him?

Noted: Who wants to bet his staff scrambles this weekend and throws a "drop-in" at some Concord store on Monday's schedule and calls it access? We'll take that bet.

Noted 2: We know of a couple of Rudy's NH staffers. They are experienced, good folks who (generally) know the NH lay of the land. So we ask ourselves, why isn't Giuliani's national organization paying attention to them?

What makes all of this even more obnoxious (to us) is that new media is getting no access to Rudy at all on this NH trip.

When we called the Portsmouth Chamber to get our press credentials for the breakfast we were told (politely) that the Chamber was not credentialing any new media folks because "there wasn't room".


"No room" and "no access" - sounds like a winning New Hampshire strategy to us.

See you at the end of April RUDEy?

Bringing The Friday Funny

Jon Martin is one of the best reporters in the business and he has one hell of a sense of humor to boot.

Not to be outdone, GreenMountainPolitics1 brings The Friday Funny with the opening scene of Will Ferrell's Anchorman.

Has television news really changed all THAT much?

Happy Friday.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Is Steve Forbes Rudy's New Man In New Hampshire?

2,368 Internet media cycles have passed since Rudy Giuliani announced his Steve Forbes "Get" yesterday.

2,367 Internet media cycles have passed since opposition research blew up our email box showing Hiz Honor's flip-flop on the Flat Tax issue.

1 traditional media cycle has passed since The New York Times wrote the Flat Tax flip-flop story for those of us without a Internet connection.

We happen to be big fans of Steve Forbes' Flat Tax proposal. No Snark.

And, if Giuliani had to do a little flip-flopping on THIS issue to land Steve Forbes well, we're all for it.

He is America's Lobbyist after all.

But the angle that we think the New Hampshire Gang of 15 is missing (so far) is that Steve Forbes might very well give Giuliani's New Hampshire operation a huge shot in the arm (or at least allow them to start planning their own events instead of showing up at everyone else's).

Candidate Steve Forbes got 13% of the vote in New Hampshire in 2000. Not bad at all.

A senior field organizer for a rival presidential campaign told us, "Steve Forbes is still well remembered and well liked by many New Hampshire voters."

Hey, if your not willing to build a New Hampshire presidential operation the traditional way you might as well try to flip-flop your way into it.


Granite State Quickie: A State of Denial? The Granite Status Finally Breaks Something We Love & What About Fred 2

A State Of Denial?

We can't help asking if New Hampshire's political class is just a bit too nonchalant about its ability to protect New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary status after the '08 election.

Noted: We said after the '08 election. New Hampshire will still play a key role in this election. The only people who disagree with that assumption are Rudy's campaign consultants (rodeo clowns).

This past Monday we listened as Governor Lynch, Gary Hart, Andy Card and Pat Buchanan all praised New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner's ability to protect New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation status.

And, no question, Gardner (New Hampshire's Yoda) is deserving of the praise. His political ability, routinely displayed in the service of New Hampshire's interests, are legendary.

His clout is such that the staff of several presidential campaigns were in attendance at the dinner - at $150 bucks a ticket.

Hey, why wouldn't you want to pay big money to see a man who has successfully battled Michigan Senator Carl Levin to a standstill for the last 200 years?

But Levin, for the first time, has the upper-hand.

Levin's advantage (checkmate?) is the Nevada Caucus, which for the first time is scheduled to go after the Iowa Caucus but before the New Hampshire Primary.

The new Nevada Caucus has SPLIT the decades old alliance between New Hampshire and Iowa (exactly as Levin and the DNC intended).

The Iowa-New Hampshire bond was the rock where Gardner built his church. That rock is now gone. Just as the presidential primary landscape is dramatically shifting.

And while Gardner is still talking about respecting Iowa's traditions, that's all it is, talk.

Yoda has his work cut out for him.


The Granite Status Column Finally Breaks Something That We Love.

From today's column:

John McCain's national field director, former Granite Stater Michael Dennehy, says he has moved his former business associate, Sarah Crawford, from the campaign post of New England deputy political director to deputy campaign manager in New Hampshire.

"We need another seasoned hand to organize our political operations and volunteer efforts in New Hampshire," Dennehy said, "and Sarah knows the terrain, the people and the players better than anyone else on the ground."

What About Fred 2?

It's Day 2 of the hype surrounding the speculation surrounding the spin surrounding the gossip surrounding the chatter surrounding the noise surrounding the possibility that former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson might be thinking about considering a run for President.

Today's idle chatter made the front page of the Washington Post, which leads us to ask if that Washington institution is suffering from a lack of self-respect?

Our favorite quote in the story is from former U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander who, having found that the quote "Thompson is for lower taxes, creating jobs and national security" was used already, came up with something on the fly:
"He (Thompson) has a commanding television presence that makes every other politician in America jealous."
How Presidential!

Paging Robert Caro.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

What About Fred?

You break into the Gang of Six the same way you break into the Gang of 500 - by having a fresh angle.

Like making smart people laugh. On the ground in New Hampshire. Right through the '08 first-in-the-nation Primary.

The Gang of Six - McCain, Romney, Giuliani, Clinton, Obama and Edwards - continue to park themselves at the top of the polls. There is not much (read: almost no) political oxygen (campaign staff, money, supporters and earned media) left for 2nd and 3rd tier presidential candidates.

Ugly? Maybe.

But as crowded as the '08 field is (really, truly crowded) there is still hope for a Dark Horse candidate to break out.

If that candidate has a fresh angle.

Mike Huckabee is our "Dark Horse" candidate in '08 because we believe that he is the only 2nd/3rd tier candidate on either side that has the experience (successful governor), angle (former Baptist Minister in a field of squishy conservatives) and fundraising ability (Hallelujah!) to break into the Big Six.

But even Huckabee only makes it to the 1st tier if one of the Republicans already there falters. Our good friend Huck is hoping to "Shoot the Moon". Bless him.

Which brings us to former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson and the hype surrounding the speculation surrounding the spin surrounding Thompson possibly thinking about running for the Republican nomination.

Exhausting. And dare we say a bit overblown?

What we know about Thompson is that A. he used to be a U.S. Senator from Tennessee, B. he favors lower taxes, less government spending and strong economic growth and C. Thompson played a Manhattan District Attorney on TV's Law and Order and was in lots and lots of movies.

Setting aside Thompson's page, there isn't much on his resume to distinguish him from any of the other 321 candidates running for the Republican nomination.

Crib Note: No. Fresh. Angle.

While we personally like Fred Thompson (and really like his acting) can anyone really see a Robert Caro type penning three huge tomes on Thompson's life before Thompson even won the Presidency?


There are Senators (and Clackers) and then there are Presidents.

We don't think Fred Thompson is a President.

We're just saying.

Monday, March 26, 2007

A Simple Question Simply Asked

When the '08 presidential gate is really thrown open what candidates are going to feel like this rodeo rider?

"Campaign consultant? Ha-ha! No, I'm with the birthday party. But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night."

Of Rule Makers And Game Players

Traveling the Primary Trail in '07 we are reminded of an expression we learned at a Washington cocktail party in '04.

The expression comes compliments of a Hastert staffer who, exhausted by our constant (and consistent) criticism of "Fat" Hastert, put down his beer and shouted at us, "We're game players! We're not rule makers!"

Which he quickly followed with, "Who the f@C# did you say you were again?"

GreenMountainPolitics1 sometimes has that effect on people.

But point taken - We must learn to deal with the world as it is and not as we wish the world would be.

Which is, we are sure, a point that Hastert's people appreciate now more than ever.

But hold that thought for a moment.

Senator McCain was back in New Hampshire this weekend for the second time in 10 days.

Holly Ramer of the AP has the story here. has the story here and video here.

Marc Ambinder of Hotline has the story here.

Noted: Marc, good to meet you this weekend. We would like to point out that GreenMountainPolitics1 did scoop Hotline on the Rudy's Manager Tracks McCain story you wrote Saturday. We wrote about it last weekend. We're just saying.

Joining McCain on the campaign trail were senior campaign staffers John Weaver, Mark McKinnon and Mike Dennehy.

These three are "Game Players" - they deal, effectively, with the political world as it really is.

That's not Snark. That's not sucking-up. It's the truth.

Noted: In the interest of full disclosure we were tickled pink (and gushing about it unprofessionally) to spend 2 hours with McKinnon in a car on Saturday talking off-the-record about the '08 landscape and we were just as happy to listen to Weaver/Dennehy, on background and over beers Saturday night, talk about the way that they see the race.

Absolutely fascinating.

New Hampshire is a unique place. Dare we say that GreenMountainPolitics1 is a unique Blog?

What we (continue to) find so interesting is that as professional as McCain's presidential campaign is (run as it is by the best Game Players in the GOP), the candidate still remains the Maverick Rule Maker he was in 2000.

Which leads us to ask, "Can you be a Game Player AND a Rule Maker at the same time?"

We think McCain is doing just that. And we think it is one hell of a strategy.

Now, we know that some of you out there will scream "Bullsh@t!" and accuse us of drinking Kool-Aid spoon fed to us by McCain staff.

That's fine.

And, we will admit that lots has changed between McCain '00 and McCain '08, at least on paper. The Senator is older (who isn't?), better funded and yes, he is the establishment candidate this time around.

But, at the end of the day, the majority of his time is still built around taking unscripted questions from Town Hall audiences and taking unscripted questions from the press corps.

That's (mostly) all he does. Check his schedule.

He's the only Big Six candidate running for President to have such a high level of candidate access and in doing so he's turning conventional campaign wisdom on its head.


McCain '08 is still a Maverick Rule Maker who's running a presidential campaign as if the world was as we all wished it to be.

And he's got some real Game Players working for him.

Rule Makers AND Game Players? We think it's going to be a kick-ass combination.

We're just saying.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Don't Let The Bright Yellow Mustang Fool You...

Because you are looking at one of the best (if not the best) presidential-level Field Director on any campaign. In any state.

Even if that car is (a tad) over-the-top.

Hey, sometimes you can be all show AND all go.

And, where else would you rather be all go than on the ground in New Hampshire?

Hint for the Romney staff: This Field Director/race car driver has never impersonated a Fidelity Employee while dining at Margaritas.

Any guesses?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Oh, We're Sorry, We Thought You Said AMERICA'S Mayor

The boys at the New York Post are having fun with Judi Giuliani's recent admission that Hiz Honor isn't her first husband.

He isn't even her second husband.

Rather, he is her third husband.

We say, "no big deal".

No Snark.

So both Rudy and Judi were married a total of 6 times in order to find true love, what of it?

GreenMountainPolitics1 recently found "true love" but many of our past relationships haven't been so hot - think slamming doors, thrown books and ugliness.

Glass houses?

Furthermore, we observed Rudy-Judi together at New Hampshire's annual GOP meeting this past winter and we were impressed with how in love they seemed.

No Snark.

We were actually going to post our positive observations until "Prada" Levinson made herself the story.

Oh well.

Rudy working on wife number 3 doesn't get our blood up. Far from it. That's between him and the woman (women?) he's sleeping with.

What does get our blood up is when we read this off the AP wire:

On another matter, Giuliani suggested that he was likely to make his client list from his lucrative business interests public only if the disclosure is required by federal law.

"Those are all things that have to get decided when you do the financial disclosure form and you see what that requires," he said. "We'll see what the financial disclosure form requires."

Over the past week, Giuliani has faced questions about his law firm's relationship with Citgo Petroleum Corp., which is ultimately controlled by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Bracewell & Giuliani of Houston has represented Citgo before the Texas legislature. The firm has had a contract with Citgo since before Giuliani joined it, and Giuliani's campaign said he does no lobbying for Citgo.
Oh, we're sorry, we thought Rudy was "America's Mayor" (we're looking right at you, Gang of 500)?


"America's Lobbyist" might turn out to be more apt.

We don't know about you, but when we think "America's Mayor" we HAVE to think "Full Disclosure" at the same time.

Otherwise, what's the point?

Dear Gang of 500 - Rudy Giuliani, a man running for the most important office in the world, just revealed that he won't disclose to you (or anyone) how he made his money over the last 7 years because he's not (probably) required to do so by law.


The question is, are you going to have the balls to do anything about it?

We're just saying.

Beautiful Class

She (and he) are still in.

You go girl!

Crib Note: The chattering classes (and Clackers) proved, yet again, that idle speculation leading up to a press conference is just that - idle.

Fill Er Up?

You can take it to the bank that Presidential candidates will not be gassing up at Citgo stations this election cycle.

Using campaign money to line Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez's pocket with petrol-dollars does not make a good earned media strategy.

But what if the flow of money was reversed? What if Chavez was using his petrol-dollars to line a Presidential candidate's pocket?

And what if that candidate's campaign operation - Rudy Giuliani's for example - explained Rudy taking the dictator's money by stating:

"Mayor Giuliani believes Hugo Chavez is not a friend of the United States and his influence continues to grow because of our increasing reliance on foreign sources of oil."
Hmm, we might start to get the feeling that Rudy's communications operation is being run by a couple of chimps with a banana phone.

"(Chavez's) influence continues to grow because of our increasing reliance on foreign oil"?

We have to ween ourselves off of fossil fuels. No question about that.

But isn't Chavez's influence ALSO growing because the dictator hired Bracewell & Giuliani to look out for his interests in America?

Don't you hire lobbying firms to lobby your interests and "grow" your influence?

Why else would Bracewell & Giuliani pocket $170,000 in fees if it wasn't to "grow" Chavez's influence?

Ms. Levinson has left us feeling confused. Again.

No matter, all Rudy has to do to make things right is give the money back. Heck, he can even donate the money to pro-democracy groups in Latin America.

We can see the bumper stickers now: Grow Democracy - Not Hugo's Influence!

But, if Giuliani stubbornly (and stupidly) refuses to return the money, it will fall to his field organization to stem the bleeding among Republican Primary voters.

Field Organization? Uh-oh.

Better not be stupid Rudy.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Hillary Clinton's Man In New Hampshire

There are gets and then there are "GETS!".

Bill Shaheen, campaign Veteran/Guru/Superman, announced his decision today to endorse Hillary Clinton for President and serve as her campaign's New Hampshire Co-Chair.

Bill Shaheen is a "GET!" - campaign Chair for John Kerry's 2004 New Hampshire Primary win, Co-Chair for Carter's 1976 New Hampshire Primary win, Chair for Al Gore's 2000 New Hampshire Primary win and Co-Chair for Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter's 2006 win.

John DiStaso, Dean of the NH Press Corp, has the first full write-up of the endorsement here.

Meanwhile, the AP and New Hampshire Presidential Watch are still trying to sort-out who broke the story first.

Never mind.

GreenMountainPolitics1 and Blue Hampshire's Dean Barker and Mike Caulfield sat down with Bill Shaheen at Manchester's Merrimack Diner this afternoon to talk about what all this means for Team Clinton.

Crib Notes: Shaheen coming aboard is good news for HillaryLand.

Crib Notes2: Clinton NH Communications Chief Kathleen Strand and Clinton Director of Online Organizing Sarah Foy's decision to reach out to GreenMountainPolitics1 (and other Bloggers) is Noted. And appreciated.

And, while we cannot believe that any man is so humble as to not be a little (just a smidgen?) self-satisfied with the fact that a national TV news reporter told us this past weekend (no Snark), "Shaheen is the best New Hampshire organizer hands down." (pause, drag on cigarette) "Hands down!", we came away from our meeting with him extremely impressed.

Hey, we're humble too! But no where near as impressive.

Some Noteworthy quotes (again, although we take every precaution on how we quote people we're not reporters and we don't have editors so please check with someone at Clinton's campaign if something seems wacky. Of course, we always tape record so...):

On why he chose Hillary over other Democratic candidates:

"She can win and she is real. I want to help her break a glass ceiling that needs to be broken."

He continued, "Hillary knows what she wants me to do. She has done her homework. She wants me to make sure that her campaign is fun, that it will stay focused and that I make sure that it is run the way a New Hampshire campaign should be run. She also wants me to be help her in reaching out to the Arab community."
On the need for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement:
"I know for a fact that Hillary is committed to peace in the Middle East and that she believes that helping the Israelis and the Palestinians find a peaceful solution to their problems is a big part of that. The only thing I made Hillary promise in return for helping on her campaign is that she will send me over to the Middle East to help her work for peace in the region."
On the importance of the New Hampshire Primary:
Shaheen begins, "Hillary loves coming to New Hampshire to campaign..."

Strand breaks in, "And Hillary Clinton has come 3 times in the last few months and hopes to come back soon!"
Hey, it's the New Hampshire Primary. It's important. And Hillary knows it.

On the wisdom of New Hampshire Primary voters:
"If the country had listened to us (NH Primary) in 2000 we would had either Al Gore or John McCain as President and we would have been better off. I don't think we would be in a war in Iraq if that had happened and I don't think we would have had 9/11 if that had happened. It's what I believe in my heart. Both men would have been great Presidents and I don't think we have a great President now."
Bottom line: Bill Shaheen is a great pick-up for Team Hillary.

While we still believe that John Edwards is a greater threat to HillaryLand than people think, Shaheen will go a long way towards putting out any potential fires in New Hampshire.

We're just saying.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Obama's New Hampshire Campaign Team Knows The Importance Of Being Earnest

Obama's Manchester, New Hampshire campaign office opened today with a party that drew 250+ people for free pizza, soda and bumper stickers.

We're not kidding this time. The Obama office in New Hampshire has opened. Really truly.

Senator Hunk might not have the NH endorsements, money or (as experienced) staff that Team Clinton has, but it looks like (for now) they have plenty of grassroots.

Ask Carol Shea-Porter which she would rather have.

Don't underestimate the importance of being earnest.

Apple = Obama?

The San Fransisco Chronicle's Carla Marinucci has the story here.

One quip.

The Obama commercial is based on a Apple Computer commercial that ran in 1984. The Obama commercial is as powerful (and relevant) today as the Apple Computer commercial was then.

New vs. More Of The Same (and scary Shock Troops).

However, Apple's share of the PC market in 2006 - 6.1%

Sunday, March 18, 2007

On The Bus!

This is the man at the absolute center of Republican politics.

The guy to his right is U.S. Senator John McCain.

Senator McCain was in New Hampshire yesterday, part of a four-day campaign swing through the state that vaulted him onto the national stage in 1999-2000.

Our good friend Jon Martin of The Politico, live blogging from the Trail, has his stories here. The Union Leader has their story here.

Crib Notes: McCain's Saturday events were great. Great crowds. Great buzz. Great Straight Talk.

In fact, the events were so great that paid Giuliani staffer Jim Wieczorek was in the audience at the Lebanon event (much like paid Giuliani staffer Chris Wood was at a Cindy McCain event in Keene last month).

Hey, when your candidate isn't coming to visit you have to get your Presidential fix somehow.

The Straight Talking Senator arrived in Manchester Friday night in the middle of a blizzard that had already sidelined Obama and Dodd's campaigns.

According to a person on the flight, McCain told his pilot, "We are landing in New Hampshire."

And they did. Safely.

Which allowed us the opportunity to board the Straight Talk Express for some quality time with McCain during the Milford-Manchester leg of Saturday's campaign events.

To be fair, GreenMountainPolitics1 wasn't the only (quasi) news outlet jawing with the Senator.

Newsweek, AP, Carl Cameron of Fox News and a crew from CBS's 60 Minutes were also there while former GOP Chairman Steve Duprey and media advisor Mark McKinnon helped keep the conversation moving.

Keeping an eye on everything was national deputy communications director Danny "Insanely Dedicated" Diaz who looked fresh as a daisy after spending the previous 12 hours driving from DC to New Hampshire in a night blizzard.

Not bad company for the company we were in.

When we stepped onto The Bus in Milford John Weaver told us, "Clacker, you recognize that we are running the most open and accessible Presidential campaign ever?"

Then Weaver smirked (much the way we have smirked writing about him and his boss over the last 5 months), clapped us on the shoulder and moved us along towards the the Senator in back.

But Weaver wasn't being funny. McCain is running the most open and accessible campaign ever. Everything about the campaign screams "ACCESS!".

We got 50 minutes of the Senator's time (50 minutes!). And we're just a humble Blogspot blog.

Not to waste our chance (or his time) we shied away from "Gotcha!" horse race questions. How many times can we hear (or can we write about) how Team McCain is going to respond to McCain's age/Romney's flip-flops/Giuliani not being a conservative/March 31 numbers/Iraq polling before we (he?) want to jump out a window?

So we didn't bother. We asked the Senator other questions.

(Editor's note: We are NOT reporters and we DON'T have editors. While we did everything in our power to make sure that the following quotes attributed to Senator McCain are accurate, if something looks totally out of whack please have the professional decency to check with his campaign, the AP, Newsweek or Fox before you blast it up on Drudge).

We asked McCain about GAO head David Walker's (and Pete Peterson's) grave concern that America is headed towards fiscal ruin.

"No question there are tough choices to make," said McCain. "Did you notice that I quoted Peter Peterson at the last town meeting?" We nodded and he went on, "We need to get spending under control, we need to fix our entitlement programs and we need to make sure that we can pay for our tax cuts. Of course I favor tax cuts, but we need to make sure that we can pay for them."

We asked him about Zbigniew Brezezinski's call to restore America's diplomatic role in the world.

McCain responded, "I would work with the Europeans on halting global climate change, I would close Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, I would continue to work closely with NATO in Afghanistan and I would follow Ronald Reagan's example of humility."

Following up on his global climate change answer we asked McCain when he first became aware that climate change was "real" and was a "more serious problem" than people were giving it credit for.

McCain thought about it for a minute and answered, "It was sometime during 1999 or 2000 campaign. A couple of kids showed up at a town meeting and asked me about it. It was like the hemp question I kept getting, I didn't really know anything about it. After the campaign I went back and I started to read more about global warming. Then I held hearings about the impact of global warming in my Commerce Committee. That's when I knew."

A light moment occurred when the Senator was asked about how the Information Age is changing Presidential campaigns.

"Well, I'm certainly not going to close myself off," McCain said. "You've got to be able to have fun and let people ask their questions. Yes, there will be some times where I put foot in mouth when some website..."

At this moment Diaz's eyes widen slightly and he starts trying to get the Senator's attention while (subtly) pointing at us.

McCain continues, "When some website gets a hold of something that I've said that's stupid or some Blogger starts writings something..."

At this point Diaz is no longer subtle and is now waving at the Senator, who ignores him.

McCain concludes, "Some Blogger writes something that isn't true and there is no accountability and the next thing anyone knows it's out there moving around the Internet as fact."

We know a grand entrance when we see it and so we said, "Actually Senator we're from GreenMountainPolitics1, which is a New Hampshire Primary Blog."

The good Senator, without missing a beat, stuck out his hand and growled in a most good natured way, "Oh yeah, how did you get on here you little jerk?"

And GreenMountainPolitics1, without missing a beat, growled right back, "Diaz let us on!" and shook the Senator's hand.

What a day!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Why We Heart John McCain

John McCain is a genuine American hero.

Genuine American heroes generally (but not always) make excellent Presidents.

There ain't no Snark in that.

In honor of McCain's first trip to NH as a '08 presidential candidate we break-out a (long) snippet of David Foster Wallace's The Weasel, Twelve Monkeys and The Shrub.

Wallace followed McCain on the Primary trail in 2000 and then wrote about the experience.

Wallace's article really sorts out what McCain went through in a Vietnamese prison camp and what that experience means for McCain's credibility, moral authority and leadership ability.

Crib Note: Wallace finds that "pander" is not something the good Senator does. Not then. Not now. Not ever.

His article is why we fell in love with McCain in the first place.

From Rolling Stone issue #838 (April 13, 2000):

But there’s something underneath politics in the way you have to hear McCain, something riveting and unSpinnable and true. It has to do with McCain’s military background and Vietnam combat and the five-plus years he spent in a North Vietnamese prison, mostly in solitary, in a box, getting tortured and starved. And the unbelievable honor and balls he showed there,

It’s very easy to gloss over the POW thing, partly because we’ve heard so much about it and partly because its so off the charts dramatic, like something in a movie instead of a man’s life. But it’s worth considering for a moment, because it’s what makes McCain’s “causes greater than self-interest” line easier to hear.

You probably already know what happened. In October of ’67 McCain was himself still a Young Voter and flying his 23rd Vietnam combat mission and his A-4 Skyhawk plane got shot down over Hanoi and he had to eject, which basically means setting off an explosive charge that blows your seat out of the plane, which ejection broke both of McCain’s arms and one leg and gave him a concussion and he started falling out of the skies over Hanoi.

Try to imagine how much this would hurt and how scared you’d be, three limbs broken and falling towards the enemy capital you just tried to bomb. His chute opened late and he landed hard in a little lake in a park right in the middle of downtown Hanoi…

A (Vietnamese) crowd pulled him out and just about killed him…

McCain got bayoneted in the groin; a soldier broke his shoulder apart with a rifle butt. Plus by this time his right knee was bent 90 degrees to the side with the bone sticking out. Try to imagine this.

He finally got tossed in a jeep and taken to the infamous Hoa Lo Prison where they made him beg for a week for a doctor and finally set a couple of the fractures without anesthetic and let two other fractures and the groin wound (imagine: groin wound) stay like they were.

Then they threw him in a cell. Try for a moment to feel this…

Think about how diametrically opposed to your own self-interest getting knifed in the balls and having fractures set without pain killers would be, and then about getting thrown in a cell to just lie there and hurt, which is what happened.

He was delirious with pain for weeks, and his weight dropped to 100 pounds, and the other POWs were sure he would die; and then after a few months like that after his bones mostly knitted and he could sort of stand up they brought him in to the prison commandant’s office and offered to let him go.

This is true. They said he could just leave. They had found out that McCain’s father was one of the top-ranking naval officers in the U.S. Armed Forces, and the North Vietnamese wanted the PR coup of mercifully releasing his son, the baby-killer. McCain, 100 pounds and barely able to stand, refused.

The U.S. military’s Code of Conduct for Prisoner’s of War apparently said that POWs had to be released in the order that they were captured, and there were others who’d been in Hoa Lo a long time, and McCain refused to violate the Code.

The commandant, not please, right there in the office had guards break his ribs, rebreak his arm, knock his teeth out. McCain still refused to leave without the other POWs.

And so then he spent four more years in Hoa Lo like this, much of the time in solitary, in the dark, in a closet-sized box called a “punishment-cell”.

Try to imagine the moment that moment between getting offered early release and turning it down. Try to imagine it was you. Imagine how loudly your most basic, primal self-interest would have cried out to you in that moment, and all the ways you could rationalize accepting the offer. Can you hear it? You simply can’t know for sure. None of us can. It’s hard to even imagine the pain and fear in that moment, much less know how you’d react.

But, see, we do know how this man reacted. That he chose to spend four more years there, in a dark box, alone, tapping code on the walls to the others, rather than violate a Code. Maybe he was nuts.

But the point is that with McCain we know, for a proven fact, that he’s capable of devotion to something other, more than his own self-interest. So that when he says the line in speeches you can feel like maybe it isn’t just more candidate bullshit, that with this guy it’s maybe the truth. Or maybe both the truth and bullshit; the guy does want your vote after all.

But that moment in the Hoa Lo office in ’68 – right before he refused, with all his basic normal human self-interest howling at him – that moment is hard to blow off.

The fact is that John McCain is a genuine hero of the only kind that Vietnam now has to offer, a hero not because of what he did but because of what he suffered – voluntarily, for a Code. This gives him the moral authority both to utter lines about causes beyond self-interest and to expect us, even in this age of Spin and lawyerly cunning, to believe he means them.
We'll see you on the trail Senator.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Granite State Quickie: DiStaso To Take On Bosses(?), A Huckabee House Party & Why John Edwards Makes Us Feel The Way Graham Greene Must Have Felt

The Granite State's political class is in a tizzy over maintaining New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation status.

With good reason.

And while we feel that Wyoming is a far greater threat to NH's power than Super Tuesday (kudos to eyeon08 for recognizing this angle before us), it's going to take time to sort this all out.

But New Hampshire's Governor Lynch isn't taking any chances and has already begun circling the wagons, which he did last night with a panel discussion at St. Anselm's College on the importance of first-in-the-nation status.

The Nashua Telegraph's Albert McKeon has the story here.

Note the quote by John DiStaso, political scribe at the Manchester Union Leader, bemoaning the potential impact of Super Tuesday:

"Granite State voters can thus no longer do what they always do, said DiStaso, and back long-shots."
New Hampshire loves a long-shot, no question about it.

Imagine our surprise then when we learned that Democratic Presidential Candidate (and long-shot) Mike Gravel has been banned from participating in a New Hampshire debate being hosted by CNN, WMUR-TV and The Manchester Union Leader.

A long-shot banned from participating in the Primary process by DiStaso's own news organization?

Drudge is running the story, but can it be true?

If New Hampshire is serious about keeping its reputation as a "retail politics state" (and thus its first-in-the-nation status) we cannot imagine why anyone would ban a two-term Senator from participating in a debate.

We imagine DiStaso can't either. Truly.

And we expect that at this very moment he is chatting with all parties to insure that NH remains a place where long-shots can be heard. Truly.


Last night we attended a Mike Huckabee house party in Bedford at the home of Doug and Shannon McGinley.

About 75 people showed up to listen to the former Arkansas Governor give a stump speech and take questions on National Security, charter schools, taxes and government spending.

The former southern fat boy was a huge hit with the (very) Republican audience.

For NH Primary voters upset with McCain-Feingold, Mitt Flops and Hiz Honor's liberal social stances (as well as the fact that Rudy is going to build nothing but a token campaign for the NH Primary, THAT story is starting to STICK) Huckabee is a very attractive alternative.

We LOVE the guy. We've been saying it for months.

But don't ask us, ask the numerous Republican Party officials and activists who showed up to chat with the Governor and have their picture taken.

Huck's campaign is (more or less) in place in NH and now he's going to get to introduce himself to voters.

Money Primary? Yeah, we know.

But we still feel we'll be telling several in the Gang of 500 "we told you so" in late July.


Today we attended John Edward's speech on ending global poverty at St. Anselm's college.

John Edwards is one of those candidates that makes us wish we only had to vote with our heart and not with our head.

The statistics Edwards rattled off about poverty in America (and the world) are revolting - 37 million Americans live in poverty, 47 million Americans with no health insurance, 1,000 high schools in America where 1/2 the students will not graduate.

On and on.

And all this in a country where we are able to muster the resources to pay basketball star Kobe Bryant $2,000 dollars per SHOT on the basketball court (total yearly salary/total shots per season). That's per shot. Not per basket.

Throw in the fact that America, which represents 5% of the world's population, consumes 25% of the world's resources, and you begin to understand why us consumers have such a serious national security problem on our hands.

What's the the total of our defense budget vs. everyone else?


To combat global poverty Edwards proposed a 4-part plan - 1. Make primary education available for the whole world, 2. Massive support for preventative health care in the developing world, 3. Expand political and economic rights across the globe and 4. a Presidential Cabinet-level Secretary to handle fight poverty and coordinate the programs.

Our heart loves Edwards (and so will Democratic Primary voters). Truly.

But our head is not so sure.

It's not that we are knee-jerk anti-tax (although the 33% bracket is a BITCH)

It's that if Edwards (or anyone) is going to go on a crusade to save the world (and we love crusades) we are willing to help pay for the crusade IF someone managing the crusade can explain to us where and why our tax money will be better spend on this crusade as opposed to (failed) past crusades.

The devil is in the details. And we got the sense today listening to Edwards that the details are still being worked out.

The good news is that there is still a long time to go.

We look forward to hearing more from Edwards. Our hearts and our heads.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Sound Smart At This Weekend's Cocktail Parties - A NH Primary Cheat Sheet

We've been told that imitation is the highest form of flattery and there is nothing that we would rather imitate than Mark Halperin's The Note.

On that Note, we've prepared 5 questions that The Gang of 500 should be prepared to answer if they wish to sound smart talking about the New Hampshire Primary at Concord/Manchester/DC/Manhattan/Chevy Chase cocktail parties this weekend.

Questions are ranked from the least important to most important. Our (humble) answers are at the bottom

5. Will tonight's Governor Lynch forum on the the New Hampshire Primary recognize that Wyoming is the most serious threat to New Hampshire's political clout in decades?

4. Will Chris Dodd find traction in New Hampshire at the bottom of a green glass of beer?

3. Will the NH Gang of 15 hear (HEAR!) Mike Huckabee's killer NHPR Exchange interview from this morning and realize what NH GOP Primary voters already know - That it might always be about the money but being the most conservative candidate in a conservative race isn't so bad either, especially when you start as early as Huck has?

2. Does the John Edwards speech on poverty at St. Anselm College tomorrow worry Team Clinton's NH handlers more than Obama's (2.0) NH office opening on Monday?

1. Will a smiling John Weaver step off the plane from Iowa on Friday night in Nashua and stay smiling all the way until Monday morning?

And our answers:

5. Yes, it's almost time to panic. Unless Lynch knows the difference between 1% and 3%.

4. Yes, but it's almost impossible to find running room outside the Dem 3 in this state.

3. No, but GreenMountainPolitics1 looks forward to writing a "we told you so" in July.

2. Yes. Edwards is the biggest threat to Hillary and she knows it.

1. Probably not, but we're going to offer to buy him a Budweiser (bottle) anyway.

Happy Cocktailing!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Why Is Wyoming's Early 2008 Presidential Pick Still The Biggest Story You've (Probably) Never Heard Of?

First Rudy leaves New Hampshire for California and now this.

For weeks we've heard murmurs of Wyoming's uppity intention to swoop in and steal New Hampshire's First In The Nation thunder.

Murmurs no longer.

This morning we called the Wyoming Secretary of State to see what we could see about Wyoming's '08 plan to select presidential delegates.

We didn't see much.

Wyoming, unlike NH, allows its Parties to decide when to hold their primary.

So we called the Wyoming Democratic State Headquarters.

The Wyoming Democratic Party told us that Wyoming Democrats would select their presidential delegates on March 8, 2008 come "hell or high water".

Again, not much of a story since the NH Primary will be in January of '08.

But then we called the Wyoming Republican State Headquarters and JACKPOT!

"Yes, the Republicans will select 12 delegates on the same day as the New Hampshire Primary," said the cheerful woman on the other end of the telephone.

She even directed us to a Casper Star Tribune Article from February 6, 2007:

The Wyoming Republican Central Committee voted unanimously Saturday to have the party's presidential delegate selection next year on “the same date as the new Hampshire Republican Primary, whenever that may be.”

New Hampshire's presidential primary is scheduled for January 2008.

Tom Sansonetti, a former Wyoming Republican Party chairman who presented the proposal to the committee, said Monday that once the information about Wyoming gets to the New Hampshire secretary of state, “the feathers will fly."

New Hampshire always wants to be first in the national presidential selection game, and the secretary of state is authorized to change the date if needed.

“That's the reason for the wording of the resolution,” Sansonetti said Monday. “We've worded it in such a fashion that we're like Velcro. We're stuck right up against them. So where they go, we go.”

“It will be the first Western primary for the Republican Party,” Sansonetti said.
Feathers will fly? VELCRO?

Has New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner finally met his match?

Wyoming is a small state that has (so far) proved proficient at running elections. However, we wonder if they can keep the Velcro sticking as Mr. Gardner bobs, weaves and stalls over the next 11 months.

IMPORTANT NOTE(!!!): But, if Wyoming stays stuck, how does Wolf Blitzer explain the difference between New Hampshire's 32 delegates and Wyoming's 12 delegates when a candidate needs 1,255 delegates to win the Republican nomination?

In other words, what's the difference between 1% and 3% to a CNN viewer?

Is Wyoming going to be as important as New Hampshire in nominating our next President?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Is Rudy Giuliani For New Hampshire's First In The Nation Primary Except When He's Not?

We expect the NH Gang of 15 might make a note of this. We know Harry Levine will.

Rudy Giuliani was a strong supporter of New Hampshire's First In The Nation Primary, as his comment to the advocacy group Victory NH demonstrates:

The primacy of the New Hampshire Primary is a hallowed American tradition that should be preserved and protected... Time and time again, New Hampshire has served as a launching pad for underdog candidates and also to winnow out front-runners who took a Granite State victory for granted.
"Winnow out front-runners who took a Granite State victory for granted"?

Prophetic words from Hiz Honor?

From today's Adam Nagourney story on the presidential campaign strategies for dealing with the new '08 primary calendar:
Mr. Giuliani’s aides suggested they might not spend as much time and money in Iowa and New Hampshire as other candidates, given his potential strength on Feb. 5 in places like California and New Jersey, two states with a more moderate electorate than Iowa and South Carolina.

“We have the ability to play the game a little differently,” said Mike DuHaime, who is running Mr. Giuliani’s campaign. “It’s not a matter of saying the early states aren’t important, because they are. It is just a matter of realizing that, unlike past primaries, there are many more states this year that will help decide the nominee.”
Which is sort of like saying, "Since Mr. Giuliani is the current front-runner go F yourself New Hampshire!"

Isn't it?

We love New Yorkers.

The Barest Whisper Of What's To Come

By 7am this morning our inbox was jammed with emails directing us to a Hotline story on Rudy Giuliani's support for public funding for abortion.

Frankly, our inbox was as happy as the Romney camp for some oppo diversity.

We bet that by the time we were sipping our morning coffee Romney and McCain's New Hampshire field organizations were pushing the Hotline story to likely Republican voters so that they "had the information they needed to make an informed decision on Primary Day."

Meanwhile, at Giuliani's New Hampshire headquarters, we bet that the few folks that might have been there this morning were screaming either "INCOMING!" or "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD JUST DON'T CALL THE FIRE DEPARTMENT!"

Of course, we're not even sure that they have phones yet.

And this is, of course, only the barest whisper of what's to come.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

BREAKING! Hillary Clinton Makes Absolutely No News During Her NH Trip!

All those sticks and no news. Not that no news is a bad thing.

Only 20 days remain until the March 31 filing deadline and the last thing a candidate wants to do is say something stupid and spook potential donors.

Steady and not too slow is the Way to Win in '08.

The Union Leader has the non-story of Clinton's NH trip here.

Of course this is New Hampshire and there is always stuff always going on behind the scenes.

Especially in a New Hampshire Press File room, a.k.a. the "The High School Cafeteria".

Gossip! Gossip! Gossip!

We crashed "The High School Cafeteria" last night at the New Hampshire Democratic Party's annual 100 Club Dinner at the Sheraton Nashua Hotel in Nashua, NH where we were credentialed along with about 75 other members of the "press" (old, new, new-new) corp.

Noted: When we started this Blog last October we were convinced (CONVINCED!) that Team Hillary would be among the most difficult and obnoxious campaigns for us to cover.

We have found, after five months experience, that our initial skepticism was flat out wrong.

Both Kathleen Strand, Clinton's NH communications director (who we've known for a couple of months) and Jamie Smith, part of Clinton's national press operation (who we met last night), have been gracious and helpful. It's Noteworthy and appreciated (don't worry 'Nails Hazelbaker, you're still our favorite communications guru).

But back to the High School Cafeteria where the question of the night (week and month) was "Clinton or Obama?"

And since GreenMountainPolitics1 is opinion driven we have absolutely no problem holding forth on a candidate's '08 chances in a Press File room, much to the shocked look of one or two print reporters.

So, Clinton or Obama?

"Oh, we're boring," we would answer. "The '08 election will be between Clinton and McCain."

"While we don't agree with Rove and Mehlman on much (making sure we say this in such a way that we sound like we actually talk to Rove and Mehlman while the reality is that the closest we've gotten to either of them is when we almost hit Rove with our car at the MacArthur Blvd Starbucks) we absolutely agree with them on the importance of campaign metrics."

"Metrics! Metrics! Metrics!" we almost yelled, pounding our fist for emphasis.

We concluded, "Everyone in the Big Six is going to have money, but only Clinton and McCain will have the campaign organization, the savvy and the candidate to slog out the next 12 months."

"But what about Obama and Giuliani?" came the reply. We are learning quickly that the Gang of 500 has their "darlings of the moment (cycle)"

We responded, "Obama is probably the real deal with almost no campaign organization. Rudy is probably not the real deal with almost no campaign organization. Both candidates are blissfully unaware of what it takes to win the Presidency. Clinton/McCain are going to roll right over them."

"However," hedging a little bit, "if anyone can beat Hillary it's John Edwards (we've been saying it for months and now Dan Balz is saying it). And if anyone can beat McCain it's Mike Huckabee (we've also been saying this for months and while no one else is really saying it now, just wait).

Huckabee ahead of Giuliani? That sent Gang members into a tizzy!

It seemed like everyone in the High School Cafeteria then jumped in with their opinion. We watched James Pindell tackle Dan Balz screaming, "DC ain't got nothing on Beantown, NOTHING!" before Pindell was taken down with a karate chop from Charlie Cook who answered Pindell's war cry with, "How do you like those poll numbers!"


And '08 is just getting going.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Giuliani's New Hampshire Problem

GreenMountainPolitics1 is firmly (FIRMLY!) in Halperin's Group #1 when it comes to Rudy Giuliani's chances of winning the Republican nomination.

We are shocked (SHOCKED!) that anyone in the Gang of 500 believes Rudy's candidacy is anything more than a confused ego trip which CAN ONLY result in better book sales for Hiz Honor and a redistribution of wealth from the super-rich (political donors) to the sorta-rich (political consultants).

The people who know Rudy Giuliani don't like him and the people that like Rudy Giuliani don't know him.

Think we're being funny and simplistic? Just ask Rudy's children.

But the most serious threat to a Giuliani candidacy is that Rudy is blissfully unaware of what it takes to win the Republican nomination.

Just look at what's happening on the ground in New Hampshire.

John DiStaso reported yesterday that Deb Vanderbeek, the Chief of Staff to former U.S. Representative Jeb Bradley, has signed up to help lead Mike Huckabee's NH effort (a great pick-up by the former southern fat boy by the way).

But Mike Huckabee? Not Rudy Giuliani?

Granite State insiders had considered Vanderbeek (one of the last true "A" campaign gets left in NH) a lock to go with Rudy. Hiz Honor has courted her for weeks. But she went with Huckabee instead.

Take a look at Rudy's campaign organization in NH. Or at least try to. His NH organization is non-existent (Wayne Semprini is a really nice guy and a good fundraiser but is NOT a worker bee).

We know this from personal observation and we hear it from every single field staffer that we interact with. On both sides of the aisle.

McCain and Romney staff are battling it out everyday on the ground at GOP meetings, BBQs, fundraisers, dinners and quilting bees. The two camps are snapping folks up left and right and have been for months. Soon there will be no one left.

But there is still no staff at NH events representing Hiz Honor. Ever.

The only buzz (THE ONLY BUZZ!) that we ever pick-up on Elm Street about Rudy's NH campaign is that Hiz Honor has some sort of screwed up employee pay system where middle and lower level staff aren't getting paid "Right. Right now."

The MSM might want to check into that (we know that some of you already have the story).

If Rudy Giuliani wants GreenMountainPolitics1 to take his candidacy seriously then Hiz Honor needs to start taking his own campaign more seriously.


If this is going on in NH, The First in The Nation, what's going on in the other states?

If John Weaver was getting ready to tee off on us we think that we would feel more comfortable if we had built a better lifeboat than the one that Rudy is currently riding in.

We're just saying.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Did We Mention That We Went To Harvard?

That's right, Harvard.

Not as a student of course. We couldn't get in. Even with our good looks and charm.

We went to Harvard on Monday night as press to watch one top level Romney strategist (Alex Castellanos), one top level McCain strategist (Rick Davis) and one top level Giuliani strategist (Chris Henick) get batted around by moderator Mark Halperin and university students at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at the Kennedy School of Government.

You can watch the video here. The Politico's Roger Simon has the write-up here.

It was awesome. Yes, we're gushing.

The Forum was everything a political junkie could want - The panelists talked easily and well about the political "horse race" and Halperin was a great moderator who kept things moving.

(Noted: Since we are talking about the "horse race" it's only fair that we give you the press gaggle's consensus opinion of which panelist did the better job representing their campaign - McCain's CEO Rick Davis "won" the panel. Davis had the best answers, was the most relaxed and was clearly having the most fun of the three. Our opinion might cause a cheer to go up at the Crystal City HQ.)

(Noted #2: We were more impressed with Castellanos than we thought we would be but we are left wondering why his media/communication savvy doesn't seem to be trickling down so well in Romney's campaign.)

(Noted #3: RUDEy, this is getting ridiculous. Your staff was almost the story, again. You might want to remind volunteers working your sign-up tables that when a voter politely declines to sign-up for updates on your non-run for the Presidency that the staffer doesn't respond in a really obnoxious voice, "Hey, ok, thanks for signing up!" while smirking at their fraternity "bro-bra" buddy. What is it with you New York people?

But back to the great Forum.

Even the students were engaged. Looking around the room we couldn't help thinking, "By God, I'll bet there are one (maybe two) future New York Times Editorial Board staffers in this room!"

Heady stuff.

We even got to introduce ourselves to Mark Halperin of ABC News, Dan Balz of the Washington Post, Adam Nagourney of the New York Times and the entire Fox Cable News Crew from the Boston area (but we missed you Simon, we're sorry! We love your work. Maybe next time).

Not bad for a little blog from NH.

Halperin's throwing another event at Harvard in a couple of weeks with three top Democratic strategists. We suggest you all try to make it.

We will.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Governor Huckabee Does 10 & 1/2

Even we can be serious.


GreenMountainPolitics1's 10 & 1/2 questions with former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is the first of many interviews we will conduct with New Hampshire Primary candidates, campaign staff and Granite State opinion leaders.

Answers to our questions are unedited and run in their entirety.

We encourage our readers to email us questions that they would like us to ask candidates.

We would like to thank Governor Huckabee for volunteering to be our for first victim and for taking the time to answer our questions.

1. Governor Huckabee, you are the official Dark Horse GOP Candidate of ’08 (at least according to GreenMountainPolitics1) with stronger grassroots support in New Hampshire than what your poll numbers currently suggest. What do your supporters know about your candidacy that you hope the rest of us will find out?

My supporters have focused on my overall record of accomplishment while Governor of Arkansas. They are proud of my leadership on critical issues facing our country such as improving student achievement, facing down our health crisis and managing government for the long haul.

I love “retail” politics. I love small towns and meeting new people and visiting with voters in their homes. That’s how I campaigned in Arkansas in my two races for the Governor’s Mansion. Many candidates just want to sit in a TV studio and reach people by media. That’s part of the game, but I sure prefer being live in the living room, not live on the TV in your living room!
2. Given the celebrity status of certain candidates these days, how important is New Hampshire’s retail politics approach of “getting to know candidates” and do you support New Hampshire in the battle to keep their primary first in the nation?
Primary Season without the first one being in New Hampshire is like the Fourth of July without the Stars and Stripes. I support New Hampshire’s effort to lead the primaries.
3. You describe yourself as a “paradoxical Republican” what does that mean?
I used this expression because I have often taken stands that many people do not frequently associate with Republicans. For example, I believe passionately that music and the arts play a critical role in our school curriculum. Music and the arts help kids develop critical thinking skills that lead to progress in other core subjects such as math. Also, I consider myself an ardent Conservationist. I believe that we need to leave the natural areas and heritage sites in our wonderful country to our kids and grandkids in better condition than the way we found them. This conservation conviction comes both from my boyhood experience as a Boy Scout and my faith which reminds me that “the earth is the Lord’s” and that we are not its owners; merely its caretakers.
4. What role does faith play in your personal and professional life?
I tell people that my faith is my life. It defines me. I see no separation between my faith from my personal and professional lives. Real faith should make us humble, mindful not so much of the faults of others but of our faults. It should not make us more judgmental, but rather less judgmental, as we see others living a life with the same frailty we acknowledge within ourselves. Hopefully, faith gives us strength in the face of injustice to our fellow man. I believe that our Nation was birthed in a spirit of faith – not a prescriptive one dictating how we were to believe or even that we were to believe, but one acknowledging there is indeed a providence that pervades our world.
5. You received a lot of quiet praise for the way you handled the Katrina disaster and the refugees. What did you know that other affected Governors/governments did not? What did you learn?
In the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, government at all levels failed the American people. It obvious who watched the disaster of New Orleans unfold that on day one we could get a television camera to the victims but we seemed incapable of a getting lifeboat or even a bottle of water to them. I was ashamed of what appeared to be an uncontrollable natural disaster met with an incomparable incompetence to respond to it.

I immediately called an emergency cabinet meeting of the heads of all the major state agencies. We set up a 24 hour command center in the Governor’s Conference Room outside my office in the State capitol. I knew from my years of church and faith-based work, that there were hundreds of beds in church, civic and boy/girl scout camps all over the state. These would afford comfort and privacy and a sense of place – far better than a sterile hotel room. I was governed by the Golden Rule…”Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and I challenged our volunteer teams and the camp leaders: “If this were your grandmother, how would you want her treated?” I learned that even if government failed, the American people did not. While government fretted over paperwork, ordinary citizens became extraordinary heroes simply by giving help and hope to the homeless.
6. You have a celebrated story of beating gluttony. What regimen would you recommend to the other candidates so that they can avoid packing on the “Campaign 15” (pounds)?
My first advice would be for them to read my book, “Quit Digging your Grave with a Knife and Fork.” Seriously, chronic disease is costing our Nation a fortune in lost work time and health expenses. All of us need to lead by example. My advice would be to maintain your exercise routine; avoid fried food and sugar; and try to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. In other words, you better pack a lunch because no fundraising lunch, dinner speech or airport fast food spot is going to make the high bar for healthy eating!
7. What do you think Republicans should make of Mitt Romney’s shifting stands on social and tax issues? Should voters be able to trust a candidate whose positions shift? How important is consistency?
I will let the voters review the records and make their choice.
8. You are from Arkansas, what is your most vivid memory of Hillary Clinton’s life there?
Senator Clinton is a very strong candidate and Republicans underestimate her at their own peril.
9. You are conducting this interview by email with a “Blogger” (although we prefer Citizen Pundit). What role will New Media play in your campaign? What are the potential benefits that you see? What are the potential pitfalls?
Blogging is a key force in national communication. One can see it in product reviews, sports, stock picks and of course, national politics. To me it is exciting as it is a national conversation. Bloggers have to argue their case and let the world respond. In many ways, while the method of transmission is new – the Internet – blogging itself is an old art form in anew package. The 18th century pamphlet writers during and after our American Revolution were fundamental to the political discourse of the day. The benefits include the political discourse across many time zones and providing a way to communicate a message quickly. The pitfalls are the same as in the days of the pamphleteers: responding to some scurrilous, false rumor trumped up by an opponent. But, this sort of school yard behavior has been with us in form or another for many years and will continue in the future.
10. The “Gang of 500” has trouble understanding how you will be able to compete in the Money Primary. How will you compete and how much money do you expect to raise this quarter?
Well, let’s see, if the Gang of 500 each wrote me a check for $2300, that would be good start! I have my team coming together and we are making calls. Thus far, I am pleased with response, but we have a lot of work to do. I believe that if the American people like my message of hope and my ideas that the money will flow over the course of the year.
10.5. In the spirit of bi-partisanship, say something nice about one of your opponents.
That is easy: Senator John McCain is a true American hero.

Monday, March 05, 2007

The Manchester Union Leader Editorial Page Is Out Of Touch

It's official.

The Editorial Board of the Manchester Union Leader has become something like your crotchety, out-of-touch great uncle who wanders around the basement of your house swinging his cane at the cat.

"I'm still relevant dammit!" Uncle Union Leader roars.

But few seem to think so.

(Please Note that we said the Union Leader Editorial Page and not John DiStaso, who we consider the Dean of the NH Press Corps).

For decades the conservative Union Leader played Kingmaker in local, state and national political races.

Those days are long gone - look at Union Leader endorsements and overall results from the 2006 election.

There is good reason for Uncle Union Leader's fall into irrelevance - their content is out-of-touch with New Hampshire residents.

For example, this nutty opening paragraph in today's lead editorial, Big Government McCain: Campaign Finance Deformed:

As Senator John McCain tries to convince Republicans that he's the conservative candidate for President in 2008, he has an enormous obstacle to overcome. He still does not believe in the First Amendment.
McCain does not believe in the First Amendment?

John McCain is many things to many people (including, to some, a serious pain in the ass) but there is no way that a 6 year Prisoner of War who comes back from Vietnam and continues to serve his country in the United States Congress is anti-First Amendment.

The only people who believe that are hanging out in the Star Wars Bar surfing Red State.

Which, if the Union Leader isn't careful, is the only place they will be sold.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Top 10 Reasons You Should Read GreenMountainPolitics1 Everyday

It's official - we make smart people laugh.

This is GreenMountainPolitics1's 100th post on the '08 NH Presidential Primary and we're just getting warmed up.

To celebrate, we've created a Top 10 list of our favorite stories so far.

We might be "Snarky" (we're in awe of you too J.W.), but we're a FUN Snarky.

We'll see you on the Trail.


10. Because we caught Tom Tancredo building a wall between his NH office and John McCain's NH office.

9. Because we learned that Barack Obama's definition of "open" might not be your definition of "open".

8. Because we covered Cindy McCain's first trip to NH in 6 years and foolishly compared ourselves to Charlie Bartlett.

7. Because we caught Bill Richardson loving on a piece of dough. And we still haven't gotten over it.

6. Because we reported that Harry Reid is no doctor.

5. Because we declared Mike Huckabee the dark horse candidate 2 months before Carville did.

4. Because we were there when John McCain told Bill's wife to "Be a man!"

3. Because we reported on the Biden/Ifill dust-up even though no one else caught it.

2. Because we are willing to take on Katie Levinson. And her tummy.

1. Because we were the first to report that God doesn't want Mitt Romney to be President.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Romney's Categorical Denial

Not even we can bring the funny on this one.

We dropped by the Derry/Hampton/Portsmouth Republican Committees Annual Lincoln Day Dinner at the Granite Rose in Hampstead tonight.

Mitt Romney was the keynote speaker.

At the press avail Romney was asked about "supposedly internal" documents that show, among other things, his campaign's strategy to cast his candidacy as a struggle between Big Love and Massachusetts.

We say "supposedly internal" because Romney responded to the question (again) by saying, "I haven't seen it (the documents)."

In fact, Big Love said "I haven't seen it" four times in 30 seconds.

That's about one denial every 7.5 seconds.

The Boston Globe - Romney cage match continues.

God will need to help anyone who is not being honest.