Monday, January 07, 2008
Hunting for Primary Voters
Program note: Anderson Cooper anchors 360 live from the campaign trail in N.H.
tonight at 10p ET.

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire - My boss has one hard and fast rule about campaign coverage: NO DINERS! And I guess that makes sense. Hounding the breakfast crowd at the local greasy spoon is the ultimate political coverage cliche.

But honestly, in frozen-over cities like Des Moines and Manchester, voters don't exactly roam the streets in packs. They're in their cars, in their homes or in dineresque establishments. But "NOOOO DINERS!" I'm told. Well fine, then.

So we're driving through the snowy landscape, when I spy about a hundred people gathered on a hill with sleds. To you, they'd probably look like parents and kids, sledding. To me, they looked like NEW HAMPSHIRE VOTERS NOT IN A DINER! So up the hill we climbed (no, my boots aren't waterproof; yes, I fell more than once). At the top, we found Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and lots of uncertainty about Tuesday's primary.

New Hampshirites have been deluged with ads, robo calls and mailings for months. The people on the slopes expressed no small degree of frustration. But it was also clear these voters are very tuned-in to the race. Many folks I spoke with have been to see several candidates speak, and stayed home on Saturday night to watch the 4-hour debate marathon.

Some people say New Hampshire's role it to set things straight.... that the primaries here offer the clearest snapshot of the state of the race. Unlike Iowa, the election here is a good old fashioned all-day vote. Nothing like the esoteric caucuses.

Folks here pride themselves on their fierce independent streak. These libertarian Yanks call 'em as they see 'em. And tomorrow, their voices will be heard.

-- Claire Brinberg
360 Producer

Posted By CNN: 10:40 AM ET
  5 Comments
Claire,
Good luck on your hunt!! Don't get hurt out there on those slopes!

Yeah I knew Anderson would have to go to New Hampshire and be in the middle of the fray after all the upsets that happened in Iowa. Looking forward to the show tonight!

I think New Hampshire will get things really rolling! They are more main stream and like the rest of America to me. So I assume their choice to win both parties will be more like what the rest of the nation will do.

Cynthia, Covington, Ga.
Posted By Blogger Cindy : 11:39 AM ET
It's nice that the voices of the "libertarian Yanks" will be heard, but why is there no mention of the hundreds of thousands of people in the Great Lakes State that WON'T be heard? Who, through no fault of their own, will not be allowed to vote on the candidate of THEIR choice? There has been virtually no mention in the media of the travesty that both Michigan and Florida residents must endure in the run-up to the next Presidential election. I find that puzzling and, ultimately, disheartening, especially given the dire economic straits Michigan finds itself in currently.

A little media attention to our plight would certainly go a long way toward pressuring the "good old boys" who are disenfranchising us (the Democratic & Republican National Committees) into relenting. How about a little help, CNN?

Nancy
Davisburg, Michigan
Posted By OpenID 0nm10wn2feet : 11:56 AM ET
oh tubbing is so much fun. Is that you with the tub Claire? You never know where your going to find voters, that's for sure. Glad you were able to stay out of the diners.
Posted By Anonymous Megan O. Toronto, ON, Canada : 1:43 PM ET
Claire/AC360:
You have taken the phrase, "Whatever it takes!" into a new level of journalism.

Thanks for the refreshing slant on the voters of New Hampshire via the snow slopes.
Posted By Blogger Sharon from Indy : 4:09 PM ET
I am sooo jealous; snow, frozen feet, can't walk without falling. The good old days.

Appreciate your tenacity at getting the story without the comfort of a warm diner. What's with tv producers that don't believe in their reporters being warm and comfortable while getting the news? Anyway, it will be interesting to see how New Hampshire votes, but I still believe that each state should have their say and not be influenced by previous primaries.

Stay warm and enjoy some of the snow for me.
Posted By Anonymous Christina, Windber, PA : 9:20 PM ET
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