Picking a President
NEW HAMPSHIRE - This is a beautiful state. The fading sun shining on the snow capped fields and mountains sends a beautiful winter glow across the landscape.
The little towns and hamlets, snow blanketed, are straight out of a Currier and Ives painting. As evening falls the white landscape casts an eerie light, so there is never true darkness.
I am here accompanied by Ciaran, my brother-in-law, on our every four years lost weekend. For us political junkies this is the Super Bowl and World Series all in one. Others go hunting and fishing. We go looking for politicians.
For the first time since 1952 there is no incumbent or vice presidential incumbent running. The contests on both sides are fascinating and ever changing. By the time you read this you will know the results of the nation's first primary, and New Hampshire 2008 will have gone down in history and the big dogs will have long departed.
We left New York around noon last Friday and pulled into New Hampshire four hours later. Our first stop was a Mike Huckabee event at a high school gymnasium, a chance to see the surprise Iowa winner in action.
It was a disappointment. On stage with him was Chuck Norris, who up close looks all of his 67 years, and Norris' obligatory trophy wife, who nodded at all the right moment and smiled vacantly.
Huckabee seemed old and tired also, tumbling through a poor speech, interrupted only by a gaggle of high schoolers cheering every mention of Norris. The overall impression was a rowdy town council meeting somewhere.
Next stop was Senator John McCain in a VFW Hall in Hudson. The veterans were out in force, among them many of McCain's roommates from the notorious Hanoi Hilton where he was held for much of the Vietnam War.
There was an old timers feel to the entire event and McCain, at 71, looks his age. The old fire is still there, however, as he rallied his troops for one more assault on the highest office in the land. The fact that he has come back from the dead politically is another example of how resilient a character he is.
The next morning the contrast could not have been any greater at the Mitt Romney breakfast event in Derry New Hampshire. Romney looked like Ken, the Barbie doll companion.
Everyone was preppy and spiffy and the event ran like clockwork, and every one clapped on cue (except for my rude brother-in-law who attacked Romney for his stance on illegal immigration).
Romney is clearly a very bright man, probably the smartest person running for president, but his decision to reinvent himself going from moderate governor of a blue state to snarling right-winger did him no favors. He doesn't even sound like be believes what he is saying much of the time, and it shows.
Next up was the Senator Barack Obama rally in Nashua in a high school gymnasium there. There was an horrendous traffic jam and people had abandoned their cars as far as a mile away to walk to the rally.
Obama is enormously impressive as a speaker, and watching it from the press section and later talking to reporters I could see the clear evidence of the love affair between the candidate and the press. Put simply, he can do no wrong and they are blatantly rooting for him and against Hillary Clinton.
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Hi alisaann, in truth, the ones who lose the most are the children. Marriage affords most people a means to bequeath possessions to the family without