Steinhauser: Hillary Clinton coming to NH Monday and Tuesday
CONCORD - Hillary Clinton's headed to New Hampshire Monday and Tuesday.
Her presidential campaign announced Thursday that the former secretary of state will travel to the Granite State April 20-21, saying that it will be the first of many conversations with Granite Staters about how to make the economy work for everyday Americans.
The campaign added that that similar to her Iowa swing this week, Clinton will join roundtables of students, educators and employees of a New Hampshire small business. Clinton will also hold private meetings with elected officials, activists and community leaders to discuss her campaign and ask for their support.
It's Clinton's first visit to the first-in-the-nation primary state since a stop in the Granite State on Nov 2. That's when Clinton headlined a rally in Nashua for Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, Gov. Maggie Hassan, and Rep. Annie Kuster, two days before they faced voters in the 2014 midterm elections.
Clinton's swing through New Hampshire comes just a few days after she spent two days in Iowa, which was her first campaign trip since officially announcing her second presidential campaign last Sunday.
And just like her itinerary in Iowa, Clinton will be thinking "small" when she makes the rounds in New Hampshire.
"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.
When she arrives in the New Hampshire, most likely early next week, Clinton will find herself on some very friendly ground.
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 at last November's rally. "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.
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 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," said state Sen. Lou D'Allesandro, a longtime Clinton supporter.
But regardless, Buckley said that Clinton should take nothing for granted.
"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.
"I think New Hampshire presents an opportunity for her to not only connect with people in New Hampshire but to show regular voters across the country who she really is, what she really cares about. Hillary Clinton and her husband are both products of the American dream and she's aware that the American dream is fading for far too many people and I think she wants to be president in large part to do something about that," he said.
While the ground may be friendly, there are plenty of progressives who are far from sold on Clinton.
One of them is Arnie Arnesen, a liberal activist and progressive talk radio host.
Asked about last Sunday's video launch by Clinton, Arnesen said "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."
Many on the left are concerned that their voices won't be heard if the battle for the Democratic primary is nothing other than a coronation for Clinton.
"It's very important that we should have some other people running so that we can have an appropriate debate around these issues and the potential solutions. If we have no one running except Hillary Clinton, that does not provide an adequate platform to put forth our positions and our message," state Sen. Martha Fuller Clark of Portsmouth recently told NH1 News.
The question is whether former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, or even former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chaffee, who are all mulling runs for the Democratic nomination, can tap into some of that angst. But even if they do, Clinton's still the closest thing to a sure bet in New Hampshire.