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Inside Politics

Express Line dispatch: Primary day brings out political junkies

Chris Carrot
PETA candidate Chris Carrot is a "man of vision" according to his campaign aide.

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Election Express
America Votes 2004
Presidential primaries
New Hampshire

From Liza Kaufman Hogan,

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) -- It was Mardi Gras in Manchester on Tuesday as everyone from environmentalists dressed as astronauts to presidential candidates with a campaign of one showed up to peddle their peculiar brand of politics on primary day.

Supporters of Clark, Dean, Kerry and Lieberman jostled for space on the corners next to Merrimack Restaurant, the center of street politics in this New Hampshire town. Cars honked for their candidates and volunteers chanted slogans. A good-natured group of men hollered "Bush for president" to the sign holders.

On primary day, at least half the diners were media, but a few voters suffered the crowd for lunch.

Wendell Palmei, 89, a regular at the restaurant, came to eat despite the crowds.

"Today's a little different, " he said.

Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich, accompanied by a guitarist for the Dave Matthews Band and an actress from "Dharma and Greg," walked through shaking hands with voters, then dined on a Spartan-looking plate of plain spaghetti.

Members of the Apollo Alliance were there to promote clean energy. Dressed in bright orange flight suits, the volunteers said they hoped the next president would devote as much energy to clean energy as Americans did to send a man to the moon.

Veteran Jimmy Walter, dressed in a flight suit with an anti-Bush, anti-war messages on it, drew attention from passers-by.

Members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals were out campaigning for "Chris P. Carrot" and his running mate, "Colonel Corn." His campaign aide said the Carrot was urging people "to get back to their roots by eating more fruits, veggies and grains."

CNN International crew: Producer Andreas Preuss, left, anchor Richard Quest and photographer Rodney Herbert.

"He's a man with a powerful vision," the aide added.

From Richard Quest, CNN International anchor:

Posted 11:00 AM ET

By the time you read this, Election Day in New Hampshire will have arrived. The voters will be casting their ballots for one of the seven candidates vying to be the Democratic Party nominee for president of the United States.

Rather like the hours before midnight on New Years Eve, there is now a palpable air of excitement here. We know that come what may, the clock will turn and the polls will open. This is an event that is going to take place.

There has been a last minute flurry of campaigning. Frantic searching for every last vote as candidates roared across the state. Some used helicopters, others scheduled stop after stop using their campaign bus. Even though the polls indicate that John Kerry will ultimately be successful here, no one is prepared to roll over and play dead.

Until then, we continue to watch and monitor what is happening here in New Hampshire. But, truth be told, as the hour grows late this is a cake that has already been mixed, today it goes into the oven and -- frankly speaking -- it is all but baked.

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