Photo via M Rogers Granite Grok

On Saturday I went to St. Anselm’s Institute for Politics to cover the 2017 Red Summit.

It was an interesting affair in several ways, not the least being that my wife accompanied me to the event (a very rare thing indeed). The event featured a plethora of speaker discussing topics from canvasing, to midterm elections to how the Trump campaign used twitter to lead the media.

I tweeted a fair amount of what I saw on the REDSummit hastag but here are some quick notes from what I saw.

Governor Sununu talked spoke about the state’s lowest poverty rate in the nation with 73% and said it was about keeping it local but reminded everyone that the GOP can’t become complacent stating that if you have the house, senate and the governors office you have to move the ball forward (a lesson that DC should learn).

His farther the previous Governor Sununu talked about the necessity of GOP governance to get growth but notes that the real secret of NH is it’s model of self governance. A large legislature that has to be re-elected every two years is forced to keep close to the people, as he put it: “In the other 49 states that have no idea that we can govern ourselves.”

The Next Speaker was David Carney who gave a long presentation about winning elections is about knowing your district and keeping in touch with the issues locally vs nationally saying there’s: “Not a damn thing you can do about the NFL players but you can do something about the opioid crisis. He maintained that partisanship was “fools gold”.

One of his best points was how small local races have a top up effect for an entire ticket. I’ve always maintained that it was the lack of local races that allowed Scott Brown to win in 2010 I spoke to him after his speech:

There were further presentation of things from software to identify voters while canvasing to how to build up a relationship with local media and an amusing presentation on how the Trump Campaign completely trolls the media with his tweets that featured a modified version of the classic 1949 Bugs Bunny cartoon “Long Haired Hare” to make the point

it brought the house down.

I was not the only attendee from out of state, I talked to Harold from Rhode Island:

and Beth Lindstrom of Massachusetts running in the GOP primary to challenge Elizabeth Warren

The headliner from the Event was Donald Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. His speech was a call to arms a congratulation for NH getting the Trump Train rolling and a slap in the face to the assembled crowd. He pointed out how so many had dismissed President Trump’s candidacy as a stunt.

He pulled no punches says the GOP failed them in congress, emphasizing that Trump had to get both the Wall and Tax reform in order to win re-election. At the same time he stressed the disaster that Democrat Control of the House or Senate would mean for the agenda.

He was blunt is saying that we needed a national voter ID law and stated an opinion I shared that Trump had won NH and it had been stolen.

He had nothing but distain for the entrenched political class in government, cheered the President for his statements on the NFL and hit the players for disrespecting the flag and reminded folks that the idea of America first was a foreign concept to the last administration.

When his speech was done he was mobbed by well wishes and those who wanted a photo with him. He commented during his speech on how he would lose many friends by supporting Trump but as a person with the president’s ear it’s amazing how many new friends he has discovered.

It was impossible to get an interview in the hall so after getting permission from his wife (who is a delightful and patient woman) Corey agreed to a walking interview as he headed to his car

That was a good interview but I think the most important one of the day longterm was with Fred Douchette. I had interviewed him at the first in the nation summit and then again at the Trump event in Derry where is was a co chair of the Trump campaign in NH. Given that he was on the Trump train way before the rest of us his perspective is particularly important.

Given how he and other saw this coming before everyone else I simply can’t understand why you don’t see more of them on national shows.

The photo gallery follows my TipJar pitch


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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).

trump stairsI 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.

trump 2 nh 010

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)

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….

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