Category Archives: 2016 Presidential Race

I Like Donald (Updated)

Christie - Hampton, NH 2-7-16I like Donald.  But he’s not qualified to be president.  That’s the essence of Chris Christie’s cutting evaluation of Donald Trump, delivered effectively at a Hampton, New Hampshire town hall today.

Christie was humorously dismissive of Trump as unqualified, mockingly imitating Trump’s non-answers to substantial questions.   While professing that he likes Trump personally and expressing empathy with the anger and frustration felt by Trump and his supporters, Christie pointed to Trump’s failure to offer basic thinking on his Mexican border wall and on dealing with the longterm financial challenges of Social Security as evidence of Trump’s utter unpreparedness for the presidency.  Christie declared that Trump “has not the first idea of how to run a government.”

“How?  How?”  Christie characterized that question as the “core of my criticism” of Trump and applicable to most, if not all, of Trump’s campaign talk.  “Let’s stop first at the moment of why” on Trump’s Mexican border wall proposal , Christie continued, saying “it’s not gonna work … unless you’re gonna make it like the Berlin Wall”  Christie described privately meeting twice with the president of Mexico, declaring that “he ain’t paying for Donald’s wall.”   Christie concluded by saying that “hope and luck are not a plan” and that “he’s just not the right person to be president of the United States.”

Here’s Christie’s full response and discussion:

Excerpts – Here are brief excerpts of Christie impersonating Trump:

Photo gallery:  Our photo gallery from Christie’s town hall is here.

Jeb! Rising?

Bush - Bedford, NH 2-6-16Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush hosted a town hall today with an audience of about 400 people.  Filling a middle school cafeteria in Bedford, New Hampshire, the audience appeared quite supportive of Bush.

Town halls and rallies have been increasing in size as the Tuesday New Hampshire primary approaches, with Bush seeing his audiences grow.  His poll numbers have also improved, although it’s more in the nature of a modest rising rather than a surge.  He’s battling with two current governors, Ohio’s John Kasich and New Jersey’s Chris Christie for dominance of what is essentially a second tier behind Trump, Cruz and Rubio.  With two days to go Bush faces a critical moment Tuesday, with a weak or modest showing likely to end his campaign.

Bush - Bedford, NH 2-6-16

Photo Gallery – Here is our photo gallery of Bush’s town hall:

Bush - Bedford, NH 2-6-16

The Happy Governor

IMG_6281Engaged in a tussle with New Jersey Governor Chris Chris Christie and former Florida governor Jeb Bush for a “top tier” finish in the New Hampshire primary, Ohio Governor John Kasich emphasized his ability to lead and work cooperatively and without rancor as a distinguishing feature worthy of voters attention.  Held in Bedford, Kasich’s 100th New Hampshire town hall drew an audience of about 300 people.  That’s a solid crowd for Kasich, and higher than the many previous Kasich town halls I’ve attended, but less than the crowds drawn by many of his rivals.

During the Q&A portion a man rose to praise Kasich’s attributes, which he described as including character, integrity and competence.  This prompted a lengthy rumination by Kasich on his candidacy, his prospects and his reasons for running.

Here is Kasich’s full town hall:

Photo Gallery – Our photo gallery of Kasich’s 100th town hall is here:

Kasich & Sebring

Ohio Governor John Kasich was confronted with the Sebring, Ohio water crisis while campaigning in New Hampshire Friday night.   The developing Sebring crisis echoes Flint Michigan, with the local water system delivering water with dangerous levels of lead and copper.

During a town hall in Bedford a man rose and asked whether Kasich has yet apologized to the people of Sebring.  Kasich defended the actions and responsiveness of state government.

Here’s what happened:

Cruz Lands

Cruz - Windham, NH 2-2-16Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz landed in New Hampshire Tuesday fresh from his victory in the Iowa caucuses.  Cruz spoke to a modest sized audience of about 150 people at a church in Windham, New Hampshire, but was also joined by nearly as many members of the press.

Although undoubtedly a strong candidate in New Hampshire, Cruz faces a different landscape than that of Iowa.  With a less significant portion of the electorate identifying as “evangelical”, there’s a diminished presence of a meaningful element of Cruz’s base.  His fierce rhetoric on guns, prayer and Barack Obama finds a receptive audience, however, and he’s drawn substantial audiences in his recent New Hampshire appearances.  At this town hall the audience was supportive yet not overly vocal or demonstrative.

“God bless the great state of New Hampshire” began Cruz, declaring that the election will not be “decided by the media, lobbyists or the
“Washington Cartel”, a favored Cruz enemy.  It fits neatly into Cruz’s painting this election as 1979 redux, with Cruz as the new Ronald Reagan.  In Cruz’s telling, the last time “we broke the Washington Cartel” was in Reagan’s 1980 victory.

Cruz - Windham, NH 2-2-16

Continue reading Cruz Lands


Donald over Ted – that’s what The Mirror reports on Jimmy Carter’s preference between the two leading Republican presidential candidates.  It’s a nice twist to the race as Ted Cruz regularly describes today in 1979 terms, attacking Jimmy Carter, decrying perceived American weakness at the hands of Iran and Russia and casting himself in the role of Ronald Reagan.

Here’s Cruz, speaking in Windham, New Hampshire on Tuesday:

Cruz On Trump

Cruz - Windham, NH 2-2-16Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz had some critical comments for Donald Trump Tuesday.  Speaking at his first New Hampshire appearance following his Iowa caucuses victory, Cruz criticized Trump for supporting “amnesty” during the 2013 immigration reform debate and for a more general mean-spiritedness.

In his first of two Trump critiques Cruz was harshly criticizing fellow senator Marco Rubio on the 2013 failed immigration bill  when he pivoted to criticizing Trump for supporting “amnesty” and largely remaining silent then.  Cruz’s second critique came in response to a question concerning Trump’s mocking of a New York Times reporter’s physical disability while attacking his writing.

Here’s what Cruz had to say:

Cruz Q

Ted Cruz responded to a single press question as he departed from a town hall in Windham, New Hampshire this afternoon. Cruz gave a non-responsive answer when asked how voters in New Hampshire differ from voters in Iowa.

Here’s what he had to say:

Christie On Iowa (Updated)

Chris Christie made very brief comments Monday night on the Iowa caucuses results.  Expecting to fare poorly in Iowa, Christie held a town hall in New Hampshire Monday night as the caucuses were being conducted.  As he greeted attendees afterwards Christie was briefly asked by reporters about his own performance and about Ted Cruz’s victory.

Here’s what he had to say:

Update – Photo Gallery:

Our photo gallery from Christie’s town hall is here.

Super PAC Slime (Updated)

“Man up.”  That was Jeb Bush’s response Monday night to complaints that ads attacking his rivals and produced by a super PAC supporting him are “slime.”   Earlier Monday fellow candidate John Kasich had condemned an ad from a super PAC supporting Kasich and called on Bush and Chris Christie to “take their negative nonsense off television.”  While giving nominal support to condemning “slime” Bush said that he had not seen any ads constituting “slime” and urged his fellow candidates to “toughen up and stop complaining.”  Saying “this is not bean bag here,” Bush appeared completely comfortable with such attacks.

As he spoke with a supporter after the town hall Bush gave a brief mocking response, saying in a baby voice “it’s hurting my feelings.”

Here’s Bush’s response during the town hall:

Here’s Bush’s later response:

Update – Photo Gallery:

Our photo gallery of Bush’s town hall is here.

Super Kasich (Updated)

Kasich - Greenland, NH 2-1-16Republican presidential candidate John Kasich weighed in this afternoon on super PACs, both one supporting him and those supporting key rivals Jeb Bush and Chris Christie.  As he finished a town hall in Greenland, New Hampshire Kasich launched into a condemnation of negative ads, including a negative ad aired by the super PAC supporting him.  He described himself as “outraged” by that negative ad aired by his super PAC, which he first saw this morning and “thrilled” that they have instead aired a “positive” ad.  He then called for his “good friend Chris Christie and Jeb Bush” to “take their negative nonsense off television.”

As Kasich then tried to end his town hall a man showed him a pile of negative mail attacking Kasich.  As he rifled through them Kasich facetiously growled “I sided with Ooobammaa! Aahgghh!”

Kasich did not stop to talk with reporters afterwards, only calling out “I’ve said it all, all I need to say” when asked about his comments as he briskly strode onto his campaign bus.

Here’s how it went:

Update – Photo Gallery:

Our photo gallery from Kasich’s Greenland town hall is here.

Band of Brothers

Kasich - Franklin, NH 1-22-16Republican presidential candidate  and Ohio Governor John Kasich rolled through New Hampshire with an ad hoc band of brothers last Friday, continuing his New Hampshire-focused campaign.  Kasich was joined by former U.S. Senator Gordon Humphrey, former Air Force pilot and P.O.W. Tom Moe who was held in the “Hanoi Hilton” alongside John McCain and who later served as the Ohio Director of Veterans Services under Kasich, and Tim Penny, a former Democratic member of the House of Representatives from Minnesota.  Tom Rath, a former New Hampshire Attorney General and Republican power broker, also accompanied Kasich but did not address the audience.

Kasich - Franklin, NH 1-22-16

Kasich - Franklin, NH 1-22-16Speaking to a modest-sized audience of about 40 people in Franklin,  the four travelers appeared to greatly enjoy each other’s company.  Their presentations were heartfelt, quickly moving into deeply personal territory.  Moe’s experience as a prisoner of war for five years, with beatings and other torture, is riveting and inspiring even 40 years later.  While discussing Moe’s time working in the Kasich administration as state director of veterans services and their meetings with families of soldiers lost in war, Kasich discussed the loss of his own parents, killed together in a car accident caused by a drunk driver.  His introduction of Tim Penny, a former Democratic congressman who served alongside Kasich, included the fact that Penny’s wife died about ten years ago.  Although hardly light and breezy, it all seemed to fit together and gave a window into Kasich and his compatriots. Continue reading Band of Brothers

Name That Shoe

Big shoes to fill?  Perhaps figuratively, but the next president will literally bring their own shoes to the White House.   With that in mind we have a test of your knowledge of the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary candidates – can you identify them by their shoes?

We have 11 pictures of 10 Republican candidates’ shoes (adding one double entry to complicate your guessing) for you to identify.  I shot all of the photos in New Hampshire as the candidates appeared at campaign events.  (The answer key is here.)