Saturday, January 5

Vermonters invade New Hampshire to support John Edwards

This is primarily a photo blog: a group of Vermonters (including a not paltry contingent from Vermont's Green Mountain Daily) showed up in Lebanon, New Hampshire this morning to help out with the canvassing. Later, we got to see John Edwards speak, and had a real treat shortly after.

It was a day much colder than expected, and canvassing was fun. Everyone was incredibly polite to one another. We crossed a few paths with an Obama canvasser and wished each other good luck. Everyone we spoke to while canvassing was polite as well, and the common theme, even for people who weren't supporting Edwards was how nice it was to have a *good* set of choices this time around.

Below, I'll post about the speakers we had at the pre-canvassing as well as the treat we got with seeing Edwards, but first, probably one of the best portrait shots I've ever taken:

The whole photoset of photos from today can be seen here. I'm just posting a select few for the blog itself.

First, David Zucker, who was coordinating the volunteers in Lebanon:

People who do this sort of work are often overworked and overtired, but he was great.

After David, we got a cool speech from Matt Dunne, who ran for Lt. Governor in Vermont last time around and is an awesome progressive:

After Matt, we got Kevin Leahy (son of the senator Patrick Leahy), which was a treat:

Then, we got the fairly manic Ben Cohen (from Ben & Jerry's fame):

The idea was simple after this: we canvass for a bit and then we had reserved seats in the auditorium in front.

Here's what ended up happening though: the Fire Marshal shut us, and a large number of other Edwards supporters, out of the auditorium. So this was really disheartening; we had expected to have reserved seats, but no such luck. They were going to have us stand outside and meet with Edwards briefly but no one seemed to like that plan. Then they figured out that we could have an overflow room, and that as a thank you, we'd get to see Edwards speak briefly in the overflow room. They brought us in, we waited a bit, and then the candidate appeared, walking into the center of this gymnasium and standing on a chair to talk to us:

He spoke briefly, off the cuff, thanked everyone for coming and apologized for the overflow room, and then left again. I positioned myself to get the picture up top on his way out-- came out far better than I expected. We were all milling about, getting ready to head out, thinking it wasn't worth sticking around just to hear his speech pumped in through speakers.

Then something really surprising happened. He came running back into the room, without his jacket, and someone tossed him a basketball:

This was a real treat. We got to watch a presidential candidate just hang out before his speech, and have some fun, the afternoon before probably the most important debate of his political career:

He didn't seem to mind that he'd missed a few baskets, and he was as relaxed as I'd ever seen him.

So really, that's it. We headed back to quiet Vermont and over the next few days we'll be doing more campaigning, canvassing, etc. This was a real treat. I've worked for campaigns before but never got to see the candidate from this close.

I'm glad we did it and it was really fun, once you got over the bitter freezing ("Can I still feel my fingers? No, I can't!) cold. Yikes. Oh well. All for a good cause.

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