by Nathan Empsall, Sun Jan 06, 2008 at 06:25:29 PM EST
Jerome has invited all the campaign bloggers to stay on as weekend bloggers. This platform is a privilege - especially for someone who can't even legally drink for another four months - and I am honored to have it. Since I'm here in New Hampshire, I thought I would share some ground level observations and experiences. This post includes analysis of last night's spin room (with an emphasis on Elizabeth Edwards and a funny story about David Brooks), the sign wars, a Richardson event, a very strange phone call, and overall momentum.
I spent last night volunteering in the spin room for both debates. My job during the Republican debate was just to stand around and look busy, filling the room for the cameras. I pulled out my own camera and shot video of Ron Paul, Lindsey Graham, and Tom Tancredo (who I actually said hello to once the spinning was over... icky, but he does have a nice smile). When the Democrats came on, I spent an hour helping Elizabeth Edwards. This was the first time I've met her, and she was incredibly gracious and kind, even to those with critical questions. Many folks in politics are rather passive aggressive; she couldn't have been less so, and even remembered my name after the hour. I know now what folks mean when they say they wish it were her running for President. I was, however, unimpressed with her spin. She made great points about the media ignoring John Edwards, but spent most of the hour explaining why her husband is the best candidate for change. The problem there is, it's almost better to make weak arguments on your own turf than it is strong arguments on someone else's turf - and as long as the debate is about change, it's on Obama's turf. If Edwards and Clinton want to argue change, they have to land knock-out blows, and as whip-smart and impressive as Elizabeth Edwards may be, those weren't knockout blows.
I headed back to my car around midnight - and who should I find on the empty sidewalks but a lost David Brooks, unable to find his car. He asked if I knew where the media lots were, and then proceeded to head in the opposite direction of what I told him. Having parked near a media lot, I can now say with some confidence: David Brooks asked me for help, and wound up even more lost when he didn't take my directions.
The rest is a little lengthy for a frontpage post, especially since I'm a bit of a ludite and am not sure how to make a slideshow yet, so I'll stick it below the fold.