Yesterday I traveled up to Derry NH to cover Donald Trump’s appearance at the Pinkerton School in Derry.
In a sense the drive up was a metaphor for the trip itself, rather than taking 495 or the major routes that most people do I took the routes 133 to 111 to 102 arriving at the school at just after 2 PM four hours before the event was scheduled to begin.
It turned out I parked on the opposite side of the campus but decided to stay there figuring it would be easier to get out considering the size of the expected crowd (that turned out to be moot as I left my car keys in a mens room and the delay in finding them at the end of the day solved that problem for me).
I walked over to the other end of the campus and as I did I noted a group of four Trump volunteers also doing so. All of them were in their mid 20’s and none had the look of political operatives in them.
At the other end of the campus there were several tables set up in locations. One area for unticked arrivals, a table at the press access area and a third table at the main entrance.
At his last appearance in the Granite State Trump addressed the press first before entering the main hall and today would be no exception. When I arrived there was one ABC tech who had gotten there first. He was in the process of setting up his machine.
I considered taking the front row center spot but it turned out the power outlets were in the back and anyways I still had to check in. So leaving my laptop and equipment in the back I went to the front entrance to cross the T’s and dot my eyes.
I was immediately recognized by one of the Trump crew (And people laugh at the hat and scarf) from one of my many appearances covering events in the past. He asked if I had pre-registered, when I told him I had not he said I should email Hope at once to make confirm a spot otherwise he couldn’t allow me in.
Unfortunately I don’t have a smart phone nor did I have the internet code for the wireless but I DID have Hope’s number. I gave her a call and she was kind enough to approve me which would make part of what would follow possible.
Returning to the media area and using one chair as a desk I set up my computer and made my plan. I had one Canon camera with a Lithium Ion battery as my primary device, I had a 2nd Canon camera that ran on AA batteries with a broken button so I could not adjust focus or take still shots but because canon’s use a different button for stills & video it could be used for interview on my monopod. As I didn’t have a backup battery for the good camera the plan was to do as many interviews with the broken one as possible and save the good camera for the key shots and stills. Furthermore I would setup my USB mic to record the trump presser so I’d have audio no matter what.
It was at this point that I ran into a familiar face, NH State Rep Fred Doucette who I had interviewed at the FITN event back in April. but had not made a commitment.
He greeted me warming and had praise for the April interview we had done. In that interview he said the thing he wanted to see most was a candidate who would make America strong again and apparently he had decided that Donald Trump was the one to do it and had signed on as a co-chair of his campaign.
He said that if time permitted he would sit down with me for a new interview and as it happened within 15 minutes time DID permit it proving coming very early can pay off.
The BS meter line is significant as is the fact that Mr. Doucette’s career was not centered in politics and the question about what are people missing about Trump would come up again.
There was a mother and son pair of volunteers who were sitting outside the press door. Their job was to make sure that nobody who didn’t belong got in. As it was still early they had time to speak to me.
I found it very significant that Leah followed politics for a while but this was the first time she had volunteered for any campaign. Given how many campaigns pass through this state over the years that meant something (alas neither Dustin nor I would be getting a helicopter ride that day).
Shortly afterward a statuesque woman with a German accent walked up inquiring about credentialing. I found it significant that a German paper was cover Trump and approached her. She introduced herself as Lisa Nienhaus reporter for the German Newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung and kindly consented to an interview
(FYI Her twitter feed from the event was worth watching to wit)
This is insane. Long lines at the entrance to see Donald Trump's town hall in Derry, NH. pic.twitter.com/clD7bBK9mn
— Lisa Nienhaus (@lisakatharina) August 19, 2015
In some ways her description of how the German’s were reacting to Donald Trump paralleled the way many in our political class have been. I plan on keeping an eye on her coverage.
At the point I noticed that voters were starting to arrive so I swapped out my memory cards and as the initial photos and interviews were importing to my laptop I went outside to see what the people who showed up hours early had to say….
The only pay I get for any of this comes from you. My annual goal is Twenty Two grand which will give me a nominal living doing this.
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