Not all New Hampshire supporters of John Kerry were surprised to learn that he would not run for president in 2008, but most said they were relieved that he had made a decision.
A sampling of opinion:
- Billy Shaheen, husband of former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen and a NH Democratic Party power broker: "This is a decision that only he could make and I respect it. I was proud to stand with him and would have done it again on a new endeavor. These decisions are very personal and it is not a question of right and wrong. I last talked to him a couple of weeks ago and it was obvious that he was really struggling with the decision."
- Joe Keefe, former party chair and close Kerry advisor in 2004: "I wasn't surprised by the news. I spoke to him a few times over the past few weeks. I like the guy a lot and I was a big supporter of his. I think he came to the decision that this was just not his time.
I am biased and I was planning on supporting him again, but I do hope he gets some of the recognition he deserves for the contributions he made to the party and the country. I understand the decision he has made and it was a wrenching decision because he came so close last time. History is a fickle thing and a botched joke and a crowded primary field forces decision to be made and I am sure this was a bitter pill to swallow."
- Former Manchester Mayor Bob Baines: "I just talked to him two days ago. For him personally it is a good decision. In many ways it has to be a sense of relief. He brought a lot to the debate and I was sort of waiting to see him do it again. He was been very loyal both (during) my illness (colon cancer) and on my campaigns. Loyalty is in short commodity in our politics today, but he had it. I am relieved for him."