Steinhauser: Clinton taking nothing for granted on NH's friendly turf
CONCORD - When Hillary Clinton arrives in New Hampshire on Monday for her first visit as a 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, she'll set foot on friendly ground, but it appears she's taking nothing for granted.
Clinton's two day swing in the first-in-the-nation primary state is expected to resemble the trip the former secretary of state took this past week to Iowa, with heavy emphasis on small events. That visit came just days after Clinton announced her second bid for the White House last Sunday.
Monday Clinton will tour Whitney Brothers, a small family owned business in Keene. While there, Clinton will hold a roundtable with employees. According to the company's website, Whitney Brothers has been inventing and creating wood furniture for early learning and institutional childcare since 1904.
Tuesday morning Clinton will tour NHTI, Concord's Community College, and then take part in a roundtable with students and educators. As with her trip to Iowa last week, Clinton's also expected to make a number of other unscheduled stops.
The Clinton campaign says their candidate will discuss building an economy that works for tomorrow when she talks with what she describes as "everyday Americans."
Two top supporters in New Hampshire say it's important that Clinton hold small events right now.
"I think her plan is to come here, get on the ground, meet people face to face, do the kinds of things that made her so popular here in ‘08, and that's talking to people, getting people to know the real Hillary Clinton and I think that's going to resonate very well with the population," state Sen. Lou D'Allesandro told NH1 News.
D'Allesdando, who represents Manchester, supported Clinton's 2008 bid for the Democratic nomination, and is backing her again.
"I think it's important for Hillary Clinton to reconnect with voters and listen to regular people in New Hampshire, Iowa and elsewhere to hear what's on their mind, what their concerns are before she gets up on a stage and starts making speeches at thousands of people," said Terry Shumaker, a longtime close adviser and friend to both Hillary and Bill Clinton in the Granite State.
The ties that bind
Hillary and Bill Clinton have a long history in New Hampshire.
In 1992, the first-in-the-nation primary state made her husband "the comeback kid." The then-Arkansas governor's second place finish lifted up a campaign in desperate need of lifting, sending him on his way to the Democratic nomination and ultimately the White House.
Fast forward 16 years, and a come from behind victory in the primary for then-Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York was the infusion she needed after a disappointing third place finish in the Iowa caucuses. The primary triumph propelled the former front-runner back into an epic battle for the Democratic nomination against then-Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois.
"In 2008 during darkest days of my campaign you lifted me up, you gave me my voice back, you taught me so much about grit and determination, and I will never forgot that," Clinton said during her last visit to New Hampshire, a rally for the Democratic ticket two days before last November's midterm elections. "I want to thank the people of New Hampshire."
The former first lady and senator from New York has many Granite State friends in high places.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and her husband Bill, one of New Hampshire's two committee members on the Democratic National Committee, are longtime Clinton allies and strong supporters. So is Gov. Maggie Hassan, as well as former New Hampshire Democratic Party chair Kathy Sullivan, the other DNC committee member from the Granite State. Current state party chairman Ray Buckley, who has to remain neutral, is also close with the Clintons. Add to that list a bunch of state senators and scores of state representatives.
"Her support in this state is extremely strong. She did a great job here when she campaigned. She's been in contact with people over the years and I think that resonates with people. Life is all about relationships. She has a lot of relationships here," D'Allesandro added.
But regardless, Buckley said that Clinton should take nothing for granted.
"Secretary Clinton and President Clinton have been coming to New Hampshire since the 1970's. They know a lot of people here in New Hampshire. They know the state of New Hampshire. But New Hampshire has a history of tripping up the frontrunner. She's not going to take anything for granted here. She's going to work very hard."
And Shumaker said that Clinton will step up here game in the Granite State.
"All indications are she will really make a big effort here. She's hired some top notch staff. We have a core of volunteers who have worked one, two, or even three Clinton campaigns," added Shumaker, a former DNC committeeman, who accompanied Hillary Clinton to the State House in Concord in December 1991 to file to get Bill Clinton's name on the New Hampshire primary ballot.
As expected, Republicans are targeting Clinton.
"Hillary Clinton's blatant hypocrisy, staged photo-ops, and claims of being dead-broke only further prove how out-of-touch she is with everyday Americans. If Clinton truly cared about New Hampshire voters, she would answer their serious questions regarding her secret e-mail server scandal. Americans don't trust Clinton, and continuing to dodge their concerns will only make it worse," said RNC spokesman, Raffi Williams.
And America Rising, the pro-Republican super PAC that's been criticizing Clinton since it formed two years ago, announced it was going up with a two minute web video that portrays the candidate as untrustworthy and out of touch with regular Americans. The group is targeting the video to the Keene Concord areas.
But it's not just Republicans who are targeting Clinton.
Some on the far left are also criticizing her.
Asked about last Sunday's video launch by Clinton, Arnie Arnesen, a Concord based liberal activist and progressive talk radio host, told NH1 News "where's the beef. What is this about? I know she wants to be our champion but you know I buy cereal that says that. I want a candidate that proves it. Words have no meaning. I need to know where her policies are going. You know this is nice but there needs to be something more."