It’s debate time! There just seemed to be so many more debates in New Hampshire last time around. Perhaps because there were two parties involved in competitive primaries. Or people are so frustrated now that they’d rather watch ‘Dancing With the Stars.’ My call? It’s a mix of both.
Here is a shot from the Fox News Republican debate at the Whitemore Center at the University of New Hampshire. I knew someone running the event and asked if I could do a walk-through. I wish I could remember who it was, because it seems pretty amazing those in charge let me just stroll around.
But then again, there was a lot of strolling around that day. About an hour before the debate, slightly disturbed local presidential candidate Robert E. Haines appeared in his cowboy hat and suit outside the filing room in the Whit basement. What was most unsettling wasn’t that a clearly mentally disturbed person somehow was able to wander around amongst representatives from every major media outlet undetected, but that the filing area overlooked the student gym, where kids were working out.
Debates tend to bring out the crazy. Take this guy for example. He went to every Fred Thompson event (there were only three or four, so it wasn’t that big of a deal) in this costume and carrying some heckling message.
Despite his infrequent visits, I went to a surprisingly high number of Thompson visits. Probably because he got in late, ala Rick Perry, and the media couldn’t shut up about him. I got this shot at the Scamman Farm during the Rockingham County Republican Women’s annual Chili Fest. Thompson was in Manchester that day to watch part of the Patriot’s game and then was supposed to be the keynote speaker at the Scamman event.
Except there was a vicious microburst that swept across the southern half of the state. It closed part of the Route 33, one of the main roads to and from Manchester. It also knocked down a giant maple tree about 50 yards in front of my car, where I had sought shelter during the storm. It demolished three or so cars, taking the energy out of the event. I made a joke that day it was a bad omen for Thompson’s presidential aspirations.
Thompson was insufferably late, rolling in on his giant purple bus. I never got to go inside, but I imagined it was pimpin’. I remember nothing of the substance of his speech, but I do recall I got lots of good, close shots. Here, I guess I had caught Thompson’s eye.