Living in New Hampshire these days has a lot of perks. I was able to take the kids to see four "very important people" this week, aka presidential candidates.
There were three benefits of my little presidential tour: 1) Gideon learned the proper usage of "very" ("this toy is *very* special, mommy," "I'm very happy today, mommy"), 2) I was able to decide which candidate I liked most, and cast my vote a few days early, and 3) .02 seconds of fame.
Here's what I have learned from the town halls for Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Carly Fiorina (I would have loved to have seen Hilary, Bernie, and Jeb Bush in action (no interest in Trump) but needed to focus limited time on people I would actually consider voting for) and straw polling any and all New Hampshirites:
1) Chris Christie is personable but negative. I got the sense the staff are all from New Jersey. He thinks an awful lot of himself.
2) Rubio is positive, articulate, disciplined, thoughtful, and, speaking volumes about him, has attracted a team that is incredibly kind and organized. They let me park in the spot saved for the campaign bus because of the kids, found me a seat where the kids could play with puzzles, and took my question on Libya (which Rubio knocked out of the park). Their follow up has been professional and tasteful, and their literature and signage is compellingly New Hampshire-specific.
3) There's something about Ted Cruz I just don't like. I agree with him on most things, but I sense an arrogance or sleaze or something that makes me not trust him. In talking to a Princeton classmate of his yesterday, I am not alone - few liked him college. It also didn't seem he jelled well with his New Hampshire crowds. While listening in the overflow balcony area, I heard New England College (where the event was held) students who came to watch say as they left, "I'm so over him."
4) Carly Fiorina is still such a good idea and has great ideas. Unfortunately I learned from a friend that she is incredibly and unprofessionally pushy ("you don't get a picture unless you vote for me!") and another who worked for her that she was no good as a boss. Yikes, but wouldn't she be GREAT against Hillary??
5) Bernie Saunders has an excellent ground game and people seem to really jive with his socialist (wha??) message. I wouldn't be surprised if NH gives him a win.
6) No candidate but Bernie has a great ground game. We don't have a TV and I am ruled in the car by nursery-song nazis, so I don't listen to radio. I am campaigned-to only by yard signage, word of mouth, and my proactive seeking of it. Based solely on yard signage, it's clear to me that they are going up only where national, non New-Hampshire staffers hover and land. Rare is the local New Hampshire signage. Granted, I live in a small village, but it is active and influential. If you don't invest in grassroots politics, you aren't building a movement, people, just enriching the media outlets.
|This was the kids' favorite event, probably because I let them crawl around in the overflow balcony.|
|In the PJs again to meet Carly.|
|I only went to the Christie event because it required so little effort - it was in our own little town!|
* I failed at tying Gideon's shoes the other morning. He looked at me with a smirk and said, "Nice try, mom." Thanks.
* Recently heard by G: "I never do anything. Leave me alone." (OK, moody toddler-teenager!) and "That's totally fine." "That was big." (Referring to a momentous event) "Take care!" when Lance was about to walk on some ice.
* Gideon's mastered using "though" and, as discussed above, "very." Where does he come up with this stuff?
* Esther took seven steps in a row on Friday!
* Esther got her 15 month check up this week and she is 35 inches long, having grown nearly a foot since birth! My giant, three-foot baby can beat up your baby any day.
* Someone close to us has had some health concerns affecting the family, and it seems Esther has a sixth sense for these things, as she's been a bit out of sorts in the last few days and required extra cuddles.
|Our family snowy walk a week ago|
|Testing the ice -yikes!|
|I got cream cheese stuffed deep fried french toast at the School House Cafe in Hopkinton - ostensibly for Gideon but sinfully eaten all by myself once he thought it looked yucky.|
|The joys of snow days!|
|Gideon inadvertently knocked over a bird feeder, and I found its contents rather enchanting.|
|Do you want to build a snowman?|
|Boston Science Museum|
|Gideon loved climbing all over the rocket ship.|
|Chinese New Year celebration - she loved it until the paper dragon got within inches of her face.|
|Lots of settling-in projects this week, like hanging the pots and pictures...|