It’s not everyday that voters show up to a campaign event in New Hampshire with soccer balls and books to be signed – but on Friday afternoon around 200 people crowded into a Portsmouth restaurant to see retired soccer star Abby Wambach and author and HBO’s “Girls” creator Lena Dunham.
“I’m embarrassed to say this but it took me far too long to start voting. I had been of legal age for more than four years before I cast my first vote in the 2008 presidential election,” Dunham told the crowd. “It’s not that I didn’t care, but I didn’t believe that me caring mattered. It was impossible for me to comprehend that one young woman checking a box after waiting in a long line could matter on a national level.”
Dunham said it wasn’t until she was asked to create a video for President Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012 that she seriously considered getting involved in politics
“My father has never been prouder of me than when I was called a dirty word on Fox news,” Dunham said of the attention she got from the video, which was called “Your First Time.”
The video went “a little bit viral,” says Dunham, and got her hooked on politics.
“There was a real chance that if things hadn’t gone the way they did in 2012, Mitt Romney would be the president right now and we would be facing even more terrifying setbacks for women’s rights nationally,” Dunham said.”Its no secret that women’s rights matter to me, that’s why my Twitter feed is littered w so much heinous violence.”
As New Hampshire counts down to its first-in-the-nation primary on February 9th the Clinton campaign is sending a slate of surrogates to stump for the candidate, from Dunham and Wambach, to President Bill Clinton and their daughter Chelsea Clinton.
“I want to see Hillary Clinton in the office. She has amazing, amazing stamina. She’s smart and she has been basically doing it by herself as a woman alone among all other men for how many years,” Wambach said. “It’s time people. It’s time for women to be seen as real equals.”
With about a month to go until the primary, many voters in New Hampshire are just starting to dig into the differences between Clinton and her competitors, neighboring Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.
After a second event in Portsmouth, Dunham stuck around and talked with voters about her campaign trail fashion (a customized and knitted “Hillary” dress) and what it was like to interview Clinton back in September for her email newsletter “Lenny.”
The star power seemed to have a pro-Clinton effect on at least a couple of potential voters.
“I came to see Lena Dunham because I think she’s really awesome, and really funny, and really real and I wanted to know what she has to say about Hillary and the campaign,” 26-year-old Gabrielle Mascali told CNN. “I learned a lot, more so about Hillary that I didn’t really know.”
Emily Durette, 19, also at the event, plays college soccer and plans to vote in her home state’s primary in New Hampshire. She’s looked up to Wambach since she started playing soccer at age 5, and still plays under Wambach’s same jersey number – 20.
“Hillary is a strong woman figure, and so is Abby, and they have that in common and its awesome that she’s supporting her,” Durette told CNN. “I go to school in Vermont, so you hear a lot about Bernie Sanders up there. This event will be good to be informed with.”