ROCHESTER, N.H. -- Who needs Obama girl when you can have an Obama goat?
Better yet, an Obama goat from New Hampshire.
Binx the goat has become something of a charming mascot of the presidential primary on the Seacoast.
And tonight he outside of a Barack Obama event in Rochester wearing a red blanket with an Obama sign.
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. -- As many readers of this blog have pointed out even if Barack Obama's campaign did send automated calls to people on the national Do Not Call registry it is not illegal under state law.
Yesterday the Clinton campaign said one of their supporters on the Do Not Call List received an automated call yesterday for Obama. National law allows political calls to be made to those on the list. New Hampshire law does not. In 2006, this became a big issue on a Congressional race here with the Republican National Congressional Committee placed several thousand calls.
BUT the state law is very clear that this rule does not apply to the state's presidential primary making these calls completely legal, however annoying.
In December 2003 Bill Bradley visited Manchester to endorse Howard Dean.
On Monday he will be in New Hampshire for Barack Obama.
Bradley, the former New Jersey Senator and 2000 presidential candidate, said in a statement that Obama "will once again making idealism a central focus of our politics”.
MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Former supporters of Joe Biden and Chris Dodd's now ended campaign announced their support for Barack Obama this afternoon, including two of Dodd's New Hampshire chairman.
Former party chair and Democratic Congressional nominee Joe Keefe as well as former House Democratic Leader Jim Craig, both of Manchester, endorsed Obama.
Dan Calegari, Deerfield – Former NH Field Director for Gary Hart '84; Veteran of five NH Presidential Primaries; Small Business Owner; Member of Senator Dodd's Steering Committee
Pat Clark, Tilton – Democratic Activist
Representative Mike Farley, Manchester – Former John Kerry '04 NH Steering Committee Member, Secretary of Manchester City Democratic Party, Democratic Activist, Member of Dodd's Steering Committe
Quentin Keefe, Manchester – Owner of Commercial Street Fishery; President, Regency Mortgage Company
Chris Kennedy, Manchester – NH State Senate Legislative Aide, veteran of the 2006 NH Senate Democratic Caucus Field Operation for the Lakes Region
Joe Sullivan, Manchester – Manchester Ward 12 Democratic Committee, Retired Teacher
Anna Tilton, Marlborough – Co-Chair of Cheshire County for Dodd; Cheshire County Register of Probate; 2nd Vice Chair (and former Chair) of Cheshire County Democrats
CONCORD, N.H. -- Barack Obama is directly making the appeal to younger voters in New Hampshire as he rides on the momentum of his victory last night in the Iowa Caucuses.
In front of about 1,000 people inside the gym at Concord High School, Obama mentioned the role of younger voters at least a half dozen times telling them they have "the power to vote for change".
Early numbers out of Iowa show that voters aged 18-30, a group that usually less engaged in politics, voted at the same percentage as those who are older.
"That never happens," Obama explained. "But it happened last night because young people believe in the power of change."
Before he began his remarks he brought up two 20-something volunteers and praised them. Half of the audience was easily under 25 even though Concord High School was still on winter break.
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. -- Barack Obama told a New Hampshire audience here that if they make him the winner of the state's presidential primary on Tuesday he will win the White House.
"If you give me the same chance Iowa did last night, I truly believe I will be the next president of the United States," Obama said to an audience in Portsmouth.
Obama will also have campaign stops in Concord and Milford.
NASHUA, N.H. -- At her first campaign speech since leaving Iowa, Hillary Clinton urged an audience in Nashua this morning not to make a "leap of faith" but to appreciate what she perceives as her advantage and knowledge of how to win general elections.
"No one wants to end the war more than I do, but you have to get out the right way," Clinton said.
Award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns, a resident of Walpole, endorsed Barack Obama on a media conference call today.
It might be the first tangible consequence of Hillary Clinton's co-chair Bill Shaheen's comments last week saying that Obama's previous drug use would be a problem if he were to get the Democratic presidential nomination. Shaheen has since left the campaign
"For a number of reasons I had intended to remain neutral throughout the New Hampshire Primary process, but I find I can no longer do so. Recent events compel me to declare my support for and endorse Barack Obama," Burns said. "As the tone of things changed last week I think it was time to step up."
Burns, a 30 year resident of the state, said he's known the Clintons for at least 15 years, but he said he has been "disappointed" by the tone the Clinton campaign has taken and that Hillary is "getting some bad advice".
"I have been extremely disappointed by the tone the campaigning has taken," Burns said. "It has galvanized me to action."
He also compared Obama to Abraham Lincoln.
"If you were a pundit in the 1850s you would certain that the country needed an old pro like Clay or Calhoun or Chase or Stanton or those folks, but in fact what the country actually needed a relatively -- or so it seemed -- inexperienced youngwiry figure from Illinois. And I am willing to accept, at least in this case, that history does repeat itself.
In 2000 Burns introduced Al Gore and in 2004 he supported John Kerry. He laughed off the notion he would help make commercials for Obama.
One of Burns's employees is Dayton Duncan, who serves on the Obama steering committee.
First term Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter said she knew Sunday night that she was going to surprise a lot people when she met with Barack Obama.
Not only was Obama surprised to have her endorsement, Shea-Porter said in an interview she surprised her staff, her supporters and even her own husband.
"I kept my own counsel the whole time," she said.
Shea-Porter officially endorsed Obama in a conference call this afternoon though the Union Leader and this blog had confirmed the endorsement yesterday.
She gave the news to Obama prior to the event in Manchester with Oprah Winfrey Sunday night. After she told Obama she told Winfrey moments later.
While she got to know every Democratic presidential candidate throughout the year, introduced many of them and had dinner with a few, Obama's approach for "grassroots" campaigning is what impressed her the most.
"What I see is somebody who is a grassroots person who can reach many people," she said.
On the conference call she mentioned previous statements that she would not endorse any candidate "unless there was a compelling reason".
Asked if Obama's recent momentum in Iowa and New Hampshire was that "compelling reason" and that she could help put in over the top she replied, "What do you think?"
First term Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter will endorse Barack Obama's presidential campaign after saying all year she would stay neutral in the race, the Globe has confirmed.
Shea-Porter, supported Wesley Clark in the 2004 primary, and was elected to Congress last year as a strongly anti-war and populist candidate.
The news of her endorsement comes one day after she attended the Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama rally in Manchester.
The news is a lift for Obama's surging campaign. It means that now both of New Hampshire's members of Congress are backing Obama. The other Congressman, Paul Hodes, endorsed Obama last summer.
Besides the fact she went against her own campaign chair Billy Shaheen, who backs Hillary Clinton, the news is also bad for John Edwards, who both shares her populist and anti-war message and who desperately needs some kind of positive news out of the Granite State.
MANCHESTER, N.H. -- When Oprah Winfrey makes her first visit to Manchester for her first political rally she does draw an audience.
Around 6,000 people -- young and old and predominately female -- filled up about half of the Verizon Wireless Arena, the state's largest facility Sunday night to hear Oprah and Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential candidate.
This was the most attended political event in recent state history. On the weekend before the New Hampshire Primary in 2004, Wesley Clark drew 3,000 with filmmaker Michael Moore. Then the weekend before the general election that year President Bush tried highly unsuccessfully to fill the Verizon Wireless Arena and the next day John Kerry held a 5,000 person rally in the streets of downtown Manchester.
The event was also remarkable for its stagecraft. Over 30 television cameras, blaring music, grand, long entrances from both Oprah and Obama with standing ovations added to the idea that something was different about this rally.
The crowd clinged to Oprah and her stories. Teenage girls shook like they saw a member of the Beatles when she was introduced to a 30 second standing ovation. But while Obama started strong he also went long -- some 40 minutes -- and some yawns were visible in the audience.
But as he closed in on his final lines he got people back to their feet.
It is still very unclear what all of this -- the crowd size and pomp -- mean for his campaign, voters, or even the retail politics reputation of New Hampshire.
Yet there was an authenticty in Oprah's voice. When she described Obama to the crowd nodded their heads.
"Ain't you tired of the old way of politics," Winfrey asked. The crowd responded "Yes."
Will they vote for Obama? Who knows.
The Hampton town Democratic Chairman Gary Patton tells the Globe he is endorsing Barack Obama's presidential campaign.
His endorsement comes a month after his wife, Lenore, who is the Rockingham County Democratic Chair, also endorsed Obama.
Gary writes in his soon to be published column in the local Atlantic News that the race was between two people, Obama and Hillary Clinton. He was moved by a recent cover story in The Atlantic Monthly that argued forgetting Obama the man it is what Obama represents that would make him a better choice to be president.
About the story's argument Patton writes, "I could not agree more".
MANCHESTER, N.H. -- With new polls out this morning showing Barack Obama still leading Hillary Clinton in Iowa and gaining ground on her in New Hampshire, Clinton's national campaign manager is calling on Obama to remove an ad that began airing in the Granite State yesterday they said was "misleading".
This is the ad in question:
Manager Patti Solis Doyle said the ad was inaccurate because the ad claims to "cover everyone" with healthcare coverage and his plan doesn't guarantee that every American will have coverage because they don't mandate every to have it as the Clinton and John Edwards plan do.
Obama spokesman Reid Cherlin said it was "curious" that the Clinton campaign has decided to attack the ad today instead of when it first ran in Iowa two months ago.
On a conference call with reporters Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson said the change in tone away from a campaign that didn't "attack Democrats" was in response to the attacks that Obama and Edwards have been launching on her.
MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Illinois Senator Barack Obama visited the state's most diverse high school to deliver a comprehensive K-12 education plan that aims to improve teacher pay, early childhood learning and math and science test scores. The plan costs upwards of $18 billion a year.
Obama said that overall he wanted to move an education system away from a "those kids" mentality (as in "those kids can't learn") to one that a looks at every child as "our kid". In his plan he lays out 35 separate initiatives.
"We are not a 'these kids' nation. We are the nation that has always understood that our future is inextricably linked to the education of our children -- all of them," he said.
He also used the speech to go after rivals Hillary Clinton and John Edwards for voting against more funding of No Child Left Behind when they were both in the US Senate.
"It's pretty popular to bash No Child Left Behind out on the campaign trail, but when it was being debated in Congress four years ago, my colleague Dick Durbin offered everyone a chance to vote so that the law couldn't be enforced unless it was fully funded," Obama said. "Senator Edwards and Senator Clinton passed on that chance, and I believe that was a serious mistake."
The plan came after he announced in Iowa that, as president, he would make community college free.
Rockingham County Democartic Chair Lenore Patton, half of a powerful Seacoast Democratic duo, endorsed Barack Obama last night in a letter she sent to friends and a few reporters.
Patton wrote: "By electing Barack Obama, America can show its best face to the world - respect for individual differences, compassion for those in need, and a desire to work in harmony with other nations."
Patton's husband, Gary, the Hampton Democratic chair and retired college professor, has not endorsed anyone yet.
The pair are involved in nearly everything in Seacoast Democratic politics.
Out-spoken civil liberties expert John Hutson, the Dean of the Franklin Pierce Law School in Concord, endorsed Barack Obama's presidential campaign this morning.
Hutson, a retired Navy rear admiral, said Obama would bring a "welcome breath of fresh air" to the military.
"Clinton is a known quantity and the military I think generally wasn't wild about President Clinton and I think there will be a great deal of skepticism about another President Clinton," said Hutson. "The military will do what they've been asked to do, but i think that a fresh face and a person who has good judgment will be a welcome breath of fresh air."
Huston went further implying that Hillary Clinton was part of a Congress that was "saber rattling" with shallow demonstrations of tough talk" on Iran.
"I think that you compare Senator Clinton's position on Iran and Senator Obama's, the military generally is going to feel more comfortable with diplomacy first," he said.
Barack Obama's campaign will begin airing a new ad titled "Quiet" to reinforce his national energy policy plan he announced in Portsmouth on Monday. Watch it below.
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. -- Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama announced a comprehensive national energy plan with the goal of reducing American dependence foreign energy sources by 80 percent in the next fifty years.
The plan, which he released at a new energy efficient public library in Portsmouth, would implement a cap-and-trade programt to reduce greenhouse gas, invest $150 billion over 10 years in companies who develop "climate friendly energy supplies" and reducing the nation's energy needs by 50 percent in 30 years.
If elected Obama said he would give a yearly speech on the state of the energy plan. He called global climate change the "most urgent challenge of this era".
Today, Barack Obama delivered a speech that attempted to contrast his experience from "Washington experience". The Illionis Senator sought to explain that his experiences in community outreach efforts in Chicago, and legislative experience has a state Senator, are comparable to rivals who have spend more years in Washington.
What: Barack Obama Delivers A Labor Day Speech
Where: Veteran's Park in Manchester, NH.
How many people: According to the Obama campaign 1, 500 people attended
How many media were there: 10 TV cameras, 3 live reports and national media personalities Joe Klein, Carl Cameron and Candy Crowley.
Best quote of the event: "So let's be clear â€“ there are a lot of people who have been in Washington longer than me; who have better connections and go to the right dinner parties and know how to talk the Washington talk. Well I might not have the experience Washington likes, but I believe I have the experience America needs right now."
A former seventh grade school teacher who is the mother of a two-year-old son with autism will be one of four low-dollar contributors who won the right to have dinner with Senator Barack Obama.
Gabrielle Grossman, of Exeter, is also a volunteer for the campaign. She wrote a letter to be one of the low-dollar contributors selected by the campaign.
The other three are from California, Florida, and Colorado.
During a conference call with reporters in which New Hampshire Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson endorsed Barack Obama's presidential campaign, he said Obama was the first candidate he has ever publicly endorsed.
Well that does not appear to be the case.
Stephen Abbott, editor of nhreligion.com (and a loyal Primary Source reader), reminded that actually Robinson endorsed John Kerry at a well attended and well covered event at Franklin Pierce College a few weeks before the 2004 general election.
The Union Leader ran a story on his endorsement as did the local Monadnock Ledger-Transcript. The Union Leader later wrote a follow-up story taking a look at the tax-exempt status of his church after he made the endorsement.
Robinson was in London today and he was not immediately reachable to comment on why he described his endorsement of Obama as his first.
For what it's worth, even though Robinson supported Kerry it wasn't exactly a glowing endorsement.
According to the Ledger-Transcript story he referred to John Kerry as George Kerry and then said “the truth is neither one of these men is going to make us secure" and "both of their parties are telling are telling bald-faced lies in their commercials."
The nation's first openly gay Episcopal bishop endorsed Senator Barack Obama's presidential campaign this morning.
Gene Robinson, of Weare, N.H., was elected to be the New Hampshire Bishop for the church in 2003, setting off a split in the church.
Robinson, a registered independent, said he was attracted to Obama because they "share values" including a background of community organizing.
He also took o jab at the others in the race.
"There has been a lot of talk about whether Obama is experienced enough," said Robinson. "Frankly I am unimpressed with where the experience of those in the race has gotten us."
Freshman State Senator Jackie Cilley officially endorsed Barack Obama's presidential campaign today.
Cilley, a Barrington Democrat, grew up in the state's North Country and served as a state representative before winning an open seat to the Senate last fall.
Cilley's joins State Senate colleagues Martha Fuller Clark and Harold Janeway who endorsed Obama earlier in the year.
Some found Cilley's endorsement interesting because she is close to US Representative Carol Shea-Porter.
CONCORD, N.H. -- Under a hot sun, Illinois Senator Barack Obama received the endorsement of New Hampshire US Representative Paul Hodes, the first endorsement of such a scale in the first-in-the-nation primary state.
Hodes, a freshman Democrat from Concord, said he was supporting Obama to empower the newly Democratic controlled Congress.
"To complete the change we started in 2006 it is going to take somebody new, and I mean somebody new, to be in the White House," Hodes said to the crowd of 200 at a morning rally in downtown Concord.
Obama said he was proud to have Hodes' endorsement, but conceded he would not have near the number of endorsements that other candidates, like Hillary Clinton will have.
"We haven't been in Washington all that long and we haven't traded that many favors," Obama said.
Obama appeared more fired up than he has been at other New Hampshire events lately and much of his fire was aimed at Clinton, his chief rival for the Democratic nomination.
Clinton and Obama have been trading sharp remarks ever since a debate Monday night in South Carolina. In that debate Obama said in answer to a question that he would meet with leaders from countries with hostile relations with the United States in his first year in office. Clinton responded by saying she was open to meeting with them, but certain conditions would have to be met to ensure those leaders couldn't use the meetings as propaganda. Clinton told the Qaud-City Times newspaper in Iowa that Obama's answer was "naive".
Today, Obama responded by saying he wasn't scared to meet with these leaders.
"I am not afraid of losing the PR war to dictators," Obama said.
The trip to New Hampshire was his second in a week.
MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Democratic New Hampshire Congressman Paul Hodes, a freshman from Concord, is set to endorse Barack Obama's presidential campaign tomorrow, the Globe has confirmed.
The event is set for tomorrow morning in downtown Concord, where Obama's advance staff began working Tuesday night to develop the staging area, sparking rumors inside the New Hampshire political community about who the endorsement might be from.
Given that Hodes has only been in office for less than a year he doesn't have much of a political base to give Obama, but he is the most high profile endorsement the campaign has picked up in the state so far.
- Globe National Political Writer Susan Milligan contributed to this report from Washington.
The Barack Obama campaign said that 85 people showed up last night to the first round of book groups at twelve New Hampshire locations, coinciding with one online discussion.
Campaign volunteers in New Hampshire helped organize the book clubs to read Obama's book "Dreams From My Father." Obama's New Hampshire press secretary, Reid Cherlin, said supporters loaned books to the campaign. Then undecided voters the campaign has been targeting were offered the book to read and attend two book club meetings in their communities. The first meeting focuses on the first part of the book. The second meeting focuses on the last part.
The book clubs are an unconventional way to get the story of Obama out at a time when many Democrats at his events say they are interested in him, but have concerns about his experience.
After the two book clubs, readers will turn in their books to loan to a new group. The clubs are scheduled to continue through the summer, Cherlin said.
One of biggest liberal fund-raisers in the country, who also is among the most important Democratic activists in New Hampshire, today endorsed Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Stonyfield Farm CEO Gary Hirshberg said Obama was the one candidate who could appeal to both Democrats and Republicans alike.
"This guy can heal a divided nation," Hirshberg said on a conference call with reporters. Stonyfield is an organic dairy based in Londonderry known both for its yogurt products and its environmental activism.
The endorsement comes a week after Hirshberg held a house party for Obama at his Concord home. He said that his choice came down to Obama and John Edwards.
He said that he had a long conversation with Elizabeth Edwards yesterday.
"This is not to be interpreted as a negative on John Edwards," Hirshberg said, but what "moved my needle" in recent days was finishing Obama's book "The Audacity of Hope", watching Obama interact over dinner with the soccer team Hirshberg coaches, and hearing Republicans say they are interested.
"I thought that no matter how tortured I was (in deciding between Obama and Edwards), I was not going to sit on the fence," Hirshberg said.
Previously, Hirshberg endorsed former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack for president, but Vilsack dropped out of the race. In 2004, he endorsed former Vermont Governor Howard Dean.
LACONIA, N.H. -- Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said the "wonderful part" of his fund-raising report was not the record $32.5 million he raised in the last three months, but the record amount 258,000 people who contributed to his campaign.
"This week I got a lot of attention because we raised a lot of money," Obama said. "People said we couldn't compete by trusting in the American people, but we can because there are a quarter million people who want a health care system out there. There are a quarter million people who want to turn the page on our energy policy. There are at least a quarter million people who want to see a solution to the end of the war in Iraq."
For the second quarter in a row, Obama out-raised all of his Democratic rivals in raising primary dollars.
Besides a town meeting in at a downtown park in Laconia, Obama held also meet in private meetings with labor leaders before a private house party in Concord. He also made calls into Iowa inviting Des Moines residents to a rally on Wednesday.
MANCHESTER, N.H. – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama today announced a series of initiatives to improve government by increasing transparency of government contracts and establishing rules meant to curb the relationship between lobbyists and administration employees.
Obama announced the proposal at the New Hampshire Community Technical College in Manchester. Obama characterized his four step plan to be the “most sweeping ethics reform in history.” Aides to Hillary Clinton said the speech largely mirrors a similar plan Clinton proposed in April, but Obama staffers counter that his proposals go further.
The first of the four tenets imposes restrictions on any presidential appointees, saying they can neither oversee a company they recently worked for nor leave the administration and work for such a company. Clinton used similar language in describing the constraints she would impose on her cabinet appointees, but Obama would mandate it on thousands of presidential appointments.
Second, he would end the use of no-bid government contracts, something Clinton also called for.
Third, he would impose an absolute ban on gifts from all lobbyists to members of his administration.
Lastly, he would use the internet to allow every bill he was about to sign to be online for public review for at least five days as well as the language for all budget earmarks or tax breaks.
“It’s time to renew a people’s politics in this country – to ensure that the hopes and concerns of average Americans speak louder in Washington than the hallway whispers of high-priced lobbyists,” Obama said to about 200 people.
John Edwards spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield said that despite Obama’s speech, Edwards “is the only candidate in this race who has never once in his career taken a dime from a Washington lobbyist or PAC.”
Nonetheless Rick Katzenberg, an activist from Amherst who will host a house party tomorrow for Chris Dodd, said he was impressed by Obama.
“One of the advantages to him being a fresh face is that he can be believed to follow through on these issues where with others might be seen as just politicians,” Katzenberg said.
Saying goes that among strangers you should avoid the topics of religion and politics, but Barack Obama supporters will discuss the interplay of both at five forums in New Hampshire this week.
The "Faith, Action, Change" forums will discuss progressive politics and faith. The candidate will not be at any of the events, but this is the only state where such forums will take place.
The forums will be in Portsmouth, Keene, Nashua, Concord, and Manchester.
Hours before the Democratic debate in New Hampshire even begins, the Globe has obtained talking points for supporters of Barack Obama.
If you want to see how team Obama plans to spin, read below.
* Barack Obama intends to use this debate to show Democrats in New Hampshire and across the nation that he is the candidate who will turn the page on the failed politics of the past so we can come together and meet some of the greatest challenges we’ve faced in generations.
* Whether it’s fighting to end the war in Iraq – a war he opposed from the start – or outlining his plans to make health care and college tuition more affordable, Barack Obama has been laying out a substantive agenda for change.
* All across the country, we’re seeing crowds we’ve never seen before. People are coming to the first political event of their lives. Just last weekend, we had 300 people in Berlin, 1,500 in Conway, and 5,000 in Hanover. People in New Hampshire and across America are hungry for change and they’re seeing that our campaign is not just about winning an election, it’s about transforming our country.
* That’s why hundreds of people braved the rain and chilly temperatures to attend our New Hampshire canvass two weeks ago. They knocked on more than 13,000 doors, and talked about why they support this movement for change. That’s the kind of strong grassroots support that’s at the heart of this campaign.
* Barack Obama certainly isn’t the candidate who’s had the longest experience in Washington. But he is the candidate with two decades of experience bringing people together to solve common challenges as a community organizer, civil rights attorney, law professor, state Senator, and now U.S. Senator.
* Barack Obama believes that complicated problems deserve real answers and these debates tend to help those who offer sound bites, not solutions.
On health care plan
Barack Obama has laid out a universal health care plan that cuts costs by up to $2500 per family and covers every American. Once the plan is implemented, if there are still Americans who are not insured, we will find a way to cover them. But the major reason that 45 million Americans don’t have health insurance is not because they don’t want it, it’s because they can’t afford it. That’s why this plan focuses heavily on bringing down the cost of health care for every American.
By cutting the cost of health care, Barack Obama’s plan will strengthen our middle class. Because when families pay less for insurance, they’ll have more left over to pay for other basic necessities. And with costs going up for everything from college tuition to gas, Barack Obama believes we need to do more to lift up our middle class.
On the substance versus style critique
In the last several weeks, Barack Obama has laid out a foreign policy vision that restores American leadership in the world, rebuilds our military, secures all loose nuclear weapons within four years, and doubles our investment in weak and failing states. And he’s laid out a universal health care plan that will cut costs for every family by up to $2500 and cover every American. On energy, he went to Detroit and told automakers they had a responsibility to raise our fuel standards so we can save our planet and break our dangerous dependence on oil. He’s talked about how we can stand up to private lenders and reform our student loan system so we can make college more affordable.
Some 554 supporters of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign went door to door in six heavily Democratic neighborhoods in New Hampshire Saturday, an unprecedented canvassing eight months before the first primary vote is cast.
Obama addressed the supporters at a ski park in Manchester before they boarded buses headed to Manchester, Concord, Keene, Nashua, Portsmouth, and Hanover.
Hundreds of Barack Obama supporters are expected to come to New Hampshire on Saturday where they will canvass targeted neighborhoods across the state.
Along with the Obama literature, supporters will also carry a petition urging New Hampshire's two Republican senators to override President Bush's veto of legislation that creates a timetable for US troops to leave Iraq.
Both senators, Judd Gregg and John E. Sununu, voted against it originally.
Here is the text of the Obama petition:
"The Iraq war should never have been started, and it's long past time to end it. We were one signature away from ending this war, but President Bush defied the majority of Americans and vetoed the legislation. He has shown, again and again, since the invasion began, that he will not listen.
"But the will of the American people must be followed. If President Bush won't end the war, it's up to Congress – the representatives of the people – to end it instead. We need 16 senators to override a veto – and we have two senators right here in New Hampshire who can choose the people over their party and decide to end this war.
Demand your senators represent you."
Three former Congressional candidates and a former New Hampshire Democratic Party chair will head up Barack Obama's presidential campaign in the state where the first-in-the-nation primary will be held.
Lobbyist Jim Demers, State Senator Martha Fuller Clark, activist Mary Rauh, and adviser to governors Ned Helms were all named as New Hampshire co-chairs for Obama on Monday.
The announcement comes just days before the Obama campaign will have busloads of volunteers going door to door in the state to pass out fliers and talk to voters.
BEDFORD, N.H. -- Michelle Obama, wife of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, visited New Hampshire Monday campaigning for her husband.
It was her second trip to New Hampshire since her husband became a presidential candidate.
She says that her goal of such visits is to shed more light on her husband as a person.
She told a house party in Windham and a town hall meeting in Bedford that she first heard of Barack when he was a summer associate at her Chicago law firm.
"I wasn't sure what to make of a guy with such a funny name. I thought that since he had a funny name he must be a little weird," she said.
But after she got to know him she learned two things: he was cuter than she originally thought, and he had substance.
"He inspired me to get off the corporate ladder and begin working to make the world not as it is, but as it should be," she said.
In Bedford about 30 people attended, many of them Obama supporters.
She said that her family is more important than the campaign so she more likely will make day trips on the campaign trail. On Monday, she had breakfast with her daughters, campaigned in New Hampshire, and returned home for supper.
Barack Obama announced shortly after Hillary Clinton did that he too would would participate in a June 3 debate in New Hampshire that now includes all invited Democratic presidential candidates.
Previously, both candidates had said they would not participate because the debate was not sanctioned by the Democratic National Committee. The DNC has refused to sanction debates in June; its debates start in July.
Illnois Senator Barack Obama became the first presidential campaign to launch a New Hampshire-specific website.
The goal of such sites, which nearly every presidential candidate had in 2004, is to be one-stop destination for all local information and local organizing tools.
You can see Obama’s New Hampshire site here.
ROCHESTER, N.H. -- While Illinois Senator Barack Obama continues to keep secret the amount of money he raised in the first three months of the year, he is also not divulging another number: how much he won in the Senate’s NCAA pool.
Asked in an interview which team he was rooting for in the NCAA men’s basketball championship – since Ohio State and Florida are both from swing states – Obama didn’t avoid the question.
”I have to admit I was for Florida because their win allowed me to win the Senate pool,” Obama said.
He wouldn’t say how much he won but he did say that 25 people each pitched in $5. But we don't know if he was the only winner.
Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are both preparing trips to New Hampshire in the coming days, their campaign staffs say.
Clinton will attend only one event, a private meeting on Friday at NEA-New Hampshire, the education union headed by one of Clinton’s biggest supporters and friends, former Ambassador Terry Shumaker. While a time has yet to be set, it is likely she will speak to the group in the afternoon in Concord.
Obama will be in the state on Monday and Tuesday. Among the stops scheduled is in Keene, where two weeks ago he had to cancel a town hall event because of a large snow storm.
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is scheduled to be in Cambridge tonight to attend a $2,300 per person fund-raiser for his presidential campaign.
According to the invitation obtained by the Globe, the event will be held at the home of David and Ann Marie Wilkins on Appleton Street. Among the co-sponsors are Dan and Annette Nova; Ted Dintersmith; Karl Coiscou and Pam Everhart; Carol and Bernie Fulp; Ted and Ann Kurland; Gloria Larson; Paul Maeder; Scott Matthews and Tamara Nikuradse; Henry Morganthau; Natalie Reed; Alan and Susan Solomont; Larry and Carolyn Tribe; Barry and Eleanor White.
So maybe it was a good thing Obama paid all his overdue Cambridge parking tickets from his law school days or his caravan might have been towed.
Illinois Senator Barack Obama canceled a town hall meeting scheduled at Keene High School tonight due to the winter storm in the region.
The Democratic presidential candidate did attend an earlier stop at a retirement home in Claremont.
It was his second trip to the state in a month.
DURHAM, N.H. – At his town hall meeting in Durham, Illinois Senator Barack Obama, a Democrat, addressed the largest New Hampshire audience yet of the 2008 campaign.
Obama stood in the middle of a packed gymnasium at the University of New Hampshire of about 2,300 people. In December, he spoke at a rally of 1,500 people in Manchester. Over the weekend, Senator Hillary Clinton’s largest audience was 1,500 at Concord High School.
Before taking questions from the crowd Obama remarked, “This obviously isn’t the most intimate town hall meeting I’ve ever had.”
NASHUA, N.H. – In his first attempt to navigate the traditional New Hampshire campaigning method of meeting voters on city streets and in living rooms, Illinois Senator Barack Obama was soft-spoken and serious but offered few specifics.
He repeatedly cited his commitment to “transforming American politics” but seemed to shy away from offering details about his plans for addressing the nation’s problems.
In his second visit to New Hampshire and his first since declaring himself a candidate, Obama shook hands along Main Street in the capital city of Concord before attending a house party in Nashua at the home of a prominent state representative.
He began his remarks at the house party by saying that the country’s problems – the Iraq war, health care, and energy costs – could be solved but aren’t because of a “group of insiders who dictate the agenda.”
Asked by reporters later if Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, his rival for the Democratic nomination, was one of those insiders, Obama said she wasn’t.
However, he was asked if those who voted in 2002 to give President Bush the permission to use force in Iraq bear any responsibility for the turmoil that followed, Obama said, “All votes have consequences.”
Officially, Illinois Senator Barack Obama has been exploring a presidential run for less than a week, but his chief New Hampshire adviser says that hundreds of phone messages from Obama supporters have been left on his cell phone and at his lobbying office.
Jim Demers, a top Democratic lobbyist from Concord, was Dick Gephardt's top New Hampshire adviser in 2004. He said he has been overwhelmed with the interest in an Obama presidential campaign.
"I am not spinning for my candidate. I honestly mean I have never seen anything like it," said Demers, a one-time congressional candidate.
Demers attributes the amount of calls, in part, to the Internet.
"What I have really learned here is the power of Google," said Demers. "The campaign never gave out my information and I don't even have a formal role with them. Yet all these people just probably searched for my name and found my phone number quickly. Now I have a long list of calls to make."
Demers said he had to clean out his voicemail five times on Tuesday, the day Obama announced that he was forming a presidential exploratory committee.
On Thursday, the Obama campaign announced that Matt Rodriguez would be the New Hampshire campaign manager.
Illinois Senator Barack Obama formed a presidential exploratory committee Tuesday morning, a move allowing him to raise and spend money in pursuit of the presidency.
Obama's enters the race as a top-tier candidate with significant name recognition, a devoted base of supporters and an ability to raise money rivaled only by Senator Hillary Clinton and former Senator John Edwards.
On a trip to New Hampshire last month, Obama drew unprecedented 1,500 person audience.
He announced the formation of the committee via a video he uploaded on YouTube.com and his own website. You can view the video here.
The Illinois Speaker of the House told staff members today that he wants to draw up legislation that would move the state’s presidential primary date to one of the earliest in the country, a move that could help Illinois Senator Barack Obama if he decides to run.
Steve Brown, a spokesman for Speaker Michael Madigan, told the Globe that the bill would likely propose that the primary be held on Feb. 5, the earliest date allowed by Democratic National Committee rules. Currently, Illinois is scheduled to hold its primary in March.
“It has been a very popular idea and I would expect to see it pass,” said Brown. Madigan is a Chicago Democrat, but Brown said they never contacted Obama’s office to discuss the proposal.
Illinois joins California, Florida, and Michigan as large states that are considering moving up their presidential primaries.
A local chapter of the national DraftObama.org organization has begun with a core group of 30 Massachusetts residents who are encouraging Illinois Senator Barack Obama to run for president.
A steering committee will meet this week to plot strategy, Dr. Walid Gellad, one of the group's founders said.
Some in the group traveled to New Hampshire for Obama’s first trip there earlier in the month, and they said that if Obama runs they plan to help with Obama’s New Hampshire campaign.
Obama is spending the holidays in Hawaii where his sister said he is mulling over the idea of running. He is likely to announce his decision next month.
Senator Barack Obama’s sister tells the Associated Press that her brother, who is on vacation in Hawaii, will inform his family while there of his decision on a presidential run. She said he will announce his decision publicy shortly afterward.
Obama is in Hawaii, the state where he grew up, for two weeks during the holidays.
"It's a much needed time for reflection. He's got to figure out what he's going to do," his sister told the AP. "I think he's trying to reconnect with family and get away from the excessive demands of his schedule.”
Read the entire story here.
DraftObama.org, a group encouraging Senator Barack Obama to run for president, announced Wednesday it will begin airing television ads in New Hampshire and Washington next week.
Those would be the first television ads for a presidential candidate to air in any state for the 2008 race. In 2006 and 2005, two ads supporting draft movements for Secretary of State Condi Rice and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani ran on radio stations.
The 60-second ad, called “Believe Again,” will run on New Hampshire’s dominant television station WMUR as well as on selected cable channels.
...that "the Bears will go all the way, baby".
Senator Barack Obama delivered the opening to Monday Night Football last night featuring his Chicago Bears. You can watch his introduction here.
MANCHESTER, N.H. – Senator Barack Obama said his trip to New Hampshire on Sunday would help him make a decision on whether to seek the presidency, a decision he says will be equivalent in his life only to the moment he asked his wife to marry him.
At a press conference moments before he was set to address 1,500 activists at a Democratic rally in Manchester, Obama said the considerable interest in him is really about the American electorate searching for something fresh and hopeful.
“I think that people are very hungry for something new,” said Obama. “I think they are interested in being called to be part of something larger than the kind of small, petty slash-and-burn politics that we have been seeing over the last several years, and to some degree I think I am a stand-in for that desire on the part of the country.”
The atmosphere around Obama accounted for more of the discussion than what he actually said. The New Hampshire Democratic Party said that for the event in Manchester, more than 150 press credentials were given out, and several of those were to foreign journalists. At just two events, Obama spoke in front of at least 2,250 people.
The last time a political gathering this big occurred in this state was in two days before Election Day in 2004 when John Kerry led a Democratic rally in the downtown streets of Manchester.
In the preprimary phase of the 2008 campaign, Obama is currently the only candidate drawing this much attention. George W. Bush's campaign attracted a lot of interest in the summer of 1999, but his large crowds drew on decades worth of political connections from his father.
Of his African-American race, Obama said minority and women candidates face a “higher threshold” than white males seeking the same office.
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. – Senator Barack Obama received two standing ovations before he uttered a public word in New Hampshire.
Obama, the Illinois Democrat who is considering a run for president, made his first trip to New Hampshire on Sunday. He appeared at standing-room-only events in Portsmouth and Manchester, a rarity for political gatherings so early in the presidential nominating process.
At a book signing that filled a convention hall in Portsmouth, Obama walked into an immediate standing ovation. He spoke for 30 minutes about the topic of his latest book, “The Audacity of Hope,” before signing several hundred books.
He was able to sign enough books so quickly that he made an unscheduled stop at locally owned coffee shop, Breaking New Grounds in Portsmouth’s Market Square.
Earlier in the day he drank orange juice with Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand at the Sheraton Harborside Hotel. The two talked about their families and politics for 35 minutes. Marchand is rumored to be thinking about a run for the US Senate in 2008 against incumbent Republican John E. Sununu.
Marchand has been courted by several presidential candidates already but he said he was amazed by how quickly he got comfortable with someone who has been called a political rock star.
“We really connected in a way that fathers of two young daughters could,” said Marchand.
Some of the estimated 800 people who attended the Portsmouth book signing began arriving two hours before the event.
In interviews, many said they were more curious about seeing Obama than they were actual supporters.
Phyllis Eldridge, a former Portsmouth city councilor, couldn’t say enough positive things about Obama, but said she hopes he doesn’t run for president.
“He is wonderful, but I think he needs to get some more experience,” said Eldridge.
Nancy Burke, of Manchester, said she hopes Obama will run for president.
“I think we need him to run. We certainly need him in the debate,” said Burke.
Illinois Senator Barack, a Democrat, said his trip to New Hampshire this Sunday will weigh “significantly” on his decision of whether or not he will run for president.
In a phone interview with the Globe, Obama said he hopes to “get a read from [New Hampshire activists] as to what I should do”.
“They have been through this process a lot more than I have,” said Obama about New Hampshire voters and the state’s presidential primary.
All indications are that he will get a pretty positive read from his two events in Portsmouth and Manchester. Both events have been sold out for days and he has become the topic of discussion about the state’s political elite this week.
He has said he will not make a decision to run for president until next year.
He said he was “surprised” to hear the reaction and buzz his trip to New Hampshire has received.
“I am somebody who spent 10 years working in total obscurity in the state legislature, as an organizer and as a civil liberties professor,” said Obama. “I think these have been wonderful experiences for me in dealing with the hype because it makes me suspicious and keeps me grounded.”
Obama also defend New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary saying he would campaign in the state even if it moves its election to a date that would violate new Democratic National Committee rules, something the New Hampshire Secretary of State is looking into in order to preserve its important role.
“What I think Iowa and New Hampshire do is provide insight into the character of candidates through retail politics,” said Obama. “They can’t hide behind slick campaign ads, and that is invaluable to voters and the nation.”
Asked whether he visited New Hampshire as a Harvard Law student, Obama said he hadn’t.
“I was in the library the whole time.”
Both Senators Evan Bayh and Barack Obama will be in New Hampshire this weekend. While staff members for Bayh may have to scramble to find 50 people to show up for his three events, Obama has a guaranteed audience of 2,225.
Both Obama events are sold out, the organizers say. All 750 free tickets to attend a book signing in Portsmouth were grabbed up in just one day. In addition 1,500 people have bought tickets to see him at a rally celebrating Democratic victories in the state. People from 13 states have bought tickets to attend the rally.
Organizers of DraftObama.org say they plan to travel to New Hampshire this weekend to show their support of Senator Barack Obama, who will hold his first events in the state on Sunday.
Supporters from Washington, D.C., and Massachusetts plan to meet with a small group from New Hampshire; they say they will hold up professionally made signs and encourage others to sign a petition asking Obama to run for president in 2008.
The first state chapter of the organization formally launched this morning in New York.
Obama will appear at two events on Sunday, a book signing in Portsmouth and a larger rally in Manchester. The New Hampshire Democratic Party, which is organizing the rally, said it had to change rooms to accommodate the crowd.
New Hampshire residents, you’d think, would be used to another weekend with another potential presidential candidate trying to woo them.
But Sunday’s visit by Illinois Senator Barack Obama is shaping up to be anything but ordinary.
And now, the Boston Globe has learned, he has added a book signing in Portsmouth to his schedule. The book signing coincides with a rally in Manchester that afternoon to celebrate Democratic victories in November.
The event, sponsored in part by RiverRun bookstore, is expected to draw enough attention that he will be at the Frank Jones Center instead of the cozy bookstore. He is expected to begin signing his latest book “The Audacity of Hope” at 11 a.m.
Tom Holbrook, co-owner of RiverRun, said he expected the event “will be mayhem.”
Before formal invitations went in the mail or an e-mail was sent about Senator Barack Obama’s first trip to New Hampshire, some 200 people took the initiative of calling the state Democratic Party and reserving their tickets, according to a party spokeswoman.
Obama will appear at a New Hampshire Democratic Party fund-raiser/celebration for their big wins in the midterm elections. The event is Dec. 10.
For comparison sake, the largest fund-raising dinner of the year for the New Hampshire Democratic Party is its Jefferson-Jackson dinner. That event brings in roughly 500 people, but the cost to attend is usually more than the $25 required for the Sunday afternoon rally with Obama.
Illinois Senator Barack Obama will make his first trip to New Hampshire in a few weeks, a visit that will further increase speculation that he is considering a presidential run.
Obama will be the keynote speaker at a “2006 election celebration” sponsored by the New Hampshire Democratic Party. The event will take place Dec. 10 in Manchester.
The freshman senator has said he is looking into a presidential race while he is signing copies of his latest book.
He has already visited Iowa three times.
A day after Senator Barack Obama, an Illinois Democrat, announced he was thinking of running for president in 2008, some in New Hampshire were almost downright giddy that they would get to see him.
“I think that he has to be one of the front runners, if not the front-runner because he offers something no one else does. He is a fresh face with the obvious capacity to bring people together,” said two-time Democratic gubernatorial candidate Paul McEachern of Portsmouth.
Asked if he could support Obama, McEachern, an influential progressive, said “absolutely”.
Obama, who is only 45 and has spent just two years in the Senate, has been hinting at a run for president as he promotes his new book, “The Audacity of Hope”.
During an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Obama said he has begun thinking about running for president, after months of denials on the subject.
One Democratic operative with Iowa and New Hampshire experience has already helped organize a Draft Obama campaign.
Kris Schultz, who worked for Al Gore in Iowa and ran a New Hampshire gubernatorial campaign before becoming the N.H. Democratic Party’s Executive Director, said she is “willing to do anything, like pick up paper clips” for Obama.
“There is nothing bad that can come from an Obama race,” said Schultz.
Obama has yet to visit New Hampshire, but was in Iowa last month.