Jan 4, 2016 12:05 AM
NH1 Political Director - NH1.com
Where else but in New Hampshire can a political reporter cover four presidential candidates in four hours at four different campaign events at four separate locations.
That’s what I set out to do Sunday with NH1 News photo journalist and cameraman Jared Higginbotham.
DERRY - 12:25PM
Hillary Clinton takes the stage at Gilbert H. Hood Middle School in Derry, for the first of three town halls she would headline during a jam-packed single day trip to the first-in-the-nation primary state.
“Now we’re getting into the serious part of the primaries,” Clinton told supporters, adding that “I’m thrilled that New Hampshire is one of the places that gets to make the first decision.”
But the town hall will be remembered for how the former secretary of state and Democratic presidential front runner forcefully responded to a Republican state lawmaker’s heckling of her over her husband Bill Clinton’s past sexual impropriety.
When Clinton began taking questions, State Rep. Katherine Prudhomme O’Brien of Derry stood up just a few rows back from the candidate and began shouting, repeatedly peppering Clinton with questions about the former president’s sexual history.
Eventually, Clinton looked right at O’Brien and said “you are very rude and I’m not never ever going to call on you,” which brought lots of applause from the crowd of nearly 800.
Later O’Brien, who has a history of heckling Clinton and other presidential candidates, told CNN’s Dan Merica that she was trying to ask about Bill Clinton’s sexual impropriety decades ago.
"I asked her how in the world she can say that Juanita Broderick and Kathleen Wiley are lying when she has no idea who Juanita Broderick is," O'Brien told CNN. "She told me this summer she doesn't know who she is and doesn't want to know who she is. How can she access that they are lying, which she told someone last month?"
The incident came just one day before the former president campaigns in Nashua and Exeter for his wife. It’s the first time Bill Clinton’s been in New Hampshire since October 2014.
ATKINSON – 1:25PM
Marco Rubio is surrounded by scores of supporters at a Dolphins-Patriots watch party he’s hosting at Atkinson Country Club. The GOP senator from Florida and longtime Dolphins fan is in enemy territory when it comes to NFL allegiances. But Rubio, a long suffering Dolphins fan, told NH1 News that he would win whether his football team won or lost.
“If they lose we’re going to get a better draft pick, lower, you know, earlier. And if we win, you know we beat the hated Patriots,” he said in a one-on-one interview with NH1 News.
The event was originally scheduled for Merrill’s Tavern, but was moved to a function room two floors below after more people RSVP’d than could be accommodated in the tavern.
With the primary less than six weeks away, Rubio said he’s picking up the pace when it comes to campaigning in the Granite State, saying “we’re going to continue to come back. We have four events today, another tomorrow. We’ll be back in a few days again.”
Asked about attacks over his poor Senate voting record from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a rival for the nomination, Rubio said “Chris is looking for an advantage. I like him very much. He’s a funny guy. We have some significant policy differences.”
“I want those votes that are happening in Washington to be good votes and to be meaningful, to actually mean something. When we vote on Obamacare to repeal it, I don’t want it to be just being a vote to send a symbolic message, I want a president that will sign this. I want a president that will rebuild our military. I want a president that rebuild our intelligence infrastructure. I want a president that will repeal these executive orders that this president has put into place. So when I’m not in Washington it’s because I’m out trying become president so we can turn this country around and recover from the disaster that Obama has made,” Rubio added.
Rubio spoke with NH1 News a couple of hours after another rival for the nomination, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, suggested that Republican voters had “amnesia” for considering a “one term United States senator” for president, a clear slight towards Rubio, a single term senator.
“I don’t believe Barack Obama’s failed as a president because he was a one term senator. He has seven years of presidential experience and he’s as bad today as he was at the beginning,” Rubio said.
“Barack Obama has failed as president because he doesn’t believe in free enterprise and has undermined it. Because he doesn’t believe in limited government and in fact has expanded the federal government. Because he’s weakened our military, weakened our intelligence programs, betrayed our allies, cut deals with our enemies and hurt our national security by cutting our defense spending. This is why Barack Obama’s been a failed leader and I can reverse every single one of those things I mentioned,” he continued.
Parked outside Atkinson Country Club: a shiny new Marco Rubio campaign bus.
By the way, the Dolphins ended up beating the Patriots.
SALEM - 2:55PM
Chris Christie pulls up to a strip mall along South Broadway. The New Jersey governor was greeted by dozens of supporters and other well-wishers as he opened his latest campaign field office in New Hampshire. Christie briefly chatted with one of his youngest supporters, and was bestowed a bag of Chris Christie blend from the owner of Coffee Coffee, an organic coffee roaster with a storefront in the same strip mall.
Since we had a schedule to keep and we were running late, we didn’t stay long, but we did notice as we were leaving that right next to the Christie campaign storefront was a tattoo and body piercing shop. Not judging. Just observing.
NEWMARKET – 4:15PM
Bernie Sanders is energizing a large crowd packed into the Rockingham Ballroom. The event started with Shawn O’Connor, who’s facing off against fmr. U.S. Rep. Carol Shea Porter for the Democratic nomination in the state’s 1st Congressional District, backing the senator from Vermont. News of the endorsement was first reported by NH1 News.
Unlike Hillary Clinton’s town hall in Derry, Sanders wasn’t interrupted by a heckler, which means the event will get little if any national coverage.
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