Seeing New Hampshire... at 80mph
Sent: Tue 11/27/2007 1:24 PM
To: Reisner, David
Subject: Can u go to nh
And that was the request... could I go to New Hampshire to help with Anderson's interview of Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee
. Hopeful indeed; after the CNN/YouTube presidential debate, and some strong numbers in recent polls, the Huckabee campaign has a re-newed life to it, and we've been offered a glimpse, with a 'day in the life' on the campaign trail.
The assignment seems really exciting, plus I've never been to New Hampshire and I've heard its beautiful this time of year... I'm in.
I should have known how this trip was going to go by the flight. It's 7:55a, and before we are ready to take off in one of those small turboprop planes, the flight attendant asks passengers in the front portion of the plane to move to the back because the plane was 'nose heavy...' What?! (CNN.com's hourly forecast of Manchester, NH listed it as 'WINDY, WINDY, WINDY' and 'WINDY...' That should have been a good barometer too.)
After a bumpy ride, we touch down, hop in the rental, and hit the road. Claire Brinberg, my producer, is in the front seat and Anderson's in back. She tells us how much she loves New Hampshire - the changing of the seasons, the political windfalls that sweep through this state every election... I just hope I get to see some of this stuff she's talking about.
We arrive in Concord, a beautiful town with all the quaint stores, shops and restaurants you could imagine. We're meeting Huckabee on the first leg of today's campaign... The Concord Holiday Inn. He's speaking to the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce and the place is packed. Huckabee tells the crowd about his upbringing... how growing up his family was a generation away from dirt floors and outdoor toilets... and he was the first person in his family to graduate from high school.
Next up is Tilton H.S. Anderson hops in the car with Huckabee to interview him on the way ... and we follow in our car- zooming right behind. Huckabee arrives
and we talk about everything from his faith as a child to his dreams of playing guitar with Keith Richards... and in fact, Huckabee is here to not only speak with students, faculty and local residents about why he should be their next president... he's here to jam out with the school's rock band. (He plays a mean 'Louie Louie')
In the midst of all the cheers in the school bleachers we find out our day is going to change, and quickly. Seems someone had entered a Hillary Campaign office on the other side of New Hampshire in the town of Rochester... and he has hostages. We get the call to get over there ASAP... so we say our goodbyes, jump back in the car - and head for the story. Details were sketchy and emails/radio reports only make us more anxious as we're gunning it down the highway to get there soon. I'm seeing New Hampshire after all... at 80 mph.
We finally arrive in Rochester to a flurry of blue police lights, yellow tape, and a city on lockdown. The press is starting to set up shop - unraveling cables, wires, lights... this is going to be a long night. For a city with a police force of about 45... seems like they're all here. And they've brought backup.
We go out to find facts, grab guests and gain information on what is developing a block away. There's a news conference slated to start in the next hour and I'm asked to stay to get more info. It's amazing being on the flip-side of things. We've all seen the press conferences with 18 microphones in front of someone... but to see the wires of those 18 microphones all leading to real people; people working the story on the ground, working on it together... all from different newspapers and tv oulets. It is really something else.
We hook up with our satellite truck, and end up using our car's battery to power part of the broadcast. (As they say, when in Rochester...) Lights up, cameras on, we are on the air. The standoff ends without tragedy. We go live from the scene at 8p and 10p... in 30 degree weather.
After the show we pack up our equipment - and by midnight we were back in the car, ready to head back to where this entire day began... Manchester. As we drove back with the heat on full, and a light snow beginning to fall outside, I realized how right Claire was. New Hampshire was exciting this time of year.
- By 360 Associate Producer David Reisner