First in the Nation!
Discussing the New Hampshire ‘First in the Nation’ Presidential Primary – only a few days away…..
Here in the Granite State, we have a saying during the presidential primary season: "Iowa picks corn, New Hampshire picks presidents." With our fellow early voting state, Iowa, completing their caucus (albeit not their best showing, to say the least), as Granite Stater’s, we now have our turn coming up on this Tuesday, February 11th.
We have an immense amount of pride in this process every four years, as we truly take it as our civic responsibility to the rest of the nation. I don't say that lightly either. We New Hampshire voters really care about this process - it means so much to us. We start analyzing the candidates and attending their town hall gatherings the moment they begin coming our state to talk with us. We ask them the difficult questions and vet them like no other state in the nation. For many months, candidates have been traveling all around our state – We are now only a few days away from the big event. We are ready for this and so very excited to participate and make our voices heard!
Small Towns and Big Stakes – Choosing Our President
On Tuesday, voters in small towns across the Granite State will head to the polls in our sacred tradition of being first in the nation to participate in the presidential primary cycle. Meanwhile, recently, candidates like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have come to Newport, the Sunshine Town, as they follow a long list of candidates who have visited this great town – my hometown, earning votes one person at a time.
In previous Sunshine Reports, I have mentioned my early memory of meeting Governor Nelson Rockefeller as he visited our local restaurant on Main Street, the Priscilla Sweet Shop – the ‘de facto’ center of political discussion in our small town. I vividly remember being taken there by my parents so that I could participate in this historic visit - and my grandmother asking him a question – amongst a gaggle of national reporters covering the event.
Today, candidates who visit Newport like to go ‘door to door’ down our Main Street – and often schedule a ‘town meeting’ at our beautiful Newport Opera House. Whether it be a casual tour or an opportunity for a stump speech – with follow up Q&A, the Opera House has become a key staple in any candidate’s presidential playbook.
And that’s what makes New Hampshire and our small towns like Newport so important. The opportunity for everyday citizens to put candidates to the test. While it may be said that our state lacks on some measures of diversity, what we lack is more than made up for by our experience, our sense of duty and the seriousness with which we take our obligation. Moreover, even on the issue of diversity, show me another state where a candidate for president can be standing in a field talking about agriculture one moment and then only a few miles away be on the seacoast discussing maritime or high tech issues – with a voters who are as knowledgeable and caring as our fellow Granite Stater’s.
I encourage all New Hampshire residents to participate in the primary process. And, for my friends who are not from New Hampshire, please come to our wonderful state and see history being made first-hand.
China – A Clear and Present Danger
‘Intriguing conversation - Discussing China threat with leaders on national security’
This week I had the pleasure of traveling around the state of New Hampshire and meeting with numerous groups around the state – including legislators, business leaders and concerned citizens to discuss what I believe to be the single greatest threat to our national security – the threat from Communist China. A country that is run as a totalitarian regime – with a stated goal and determined intention to achieve worldwide domination.
For too long, we as a nation have been passive and seemingly unaware as China has pursued its course and gathered increasing strength – building its military, annexing territory, growing its economy, rampantly engaging in espionage, stealing our intellectual property – and the list goes on. Meanwhile, we have also known for decades about the abuse that China has suffered unto its own people – with massive violations of human rights – all in the name of ‘progress.’ Unfortunately, our leaders have turned a blind eye to these abuses and too often our policy has been one of appeasement.
Make no mistake, the Chinese government does not have the same policy towards us as we do towards them. They have openly said they wish to supplant us as the preeminent world power, and they will do just about anything take get there. Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of hosting man from China named Sean and introducing him to people in New Hampshire to share his story. Remarkably, Sean was present at and survived the Tiananmen Square massacre. In fact, he was amongst the last group to escape – prior to the government unleashing tanks and bullets upon its own people.
Sean spoke about his experience in Tiananmen Square - and he also shared information about the horrendous abuses that are prevalent in China today. As one almost unbelievable example - the practice of human organ harvesting. Extracting organs from living members of dissident religious groups – and selling these organs for profit. Clearly, if the Communist Chinese regime will treat its own people in such a barbaric manner – what does this say about their potential treatment of others around the world?
The good news though is that we do have the ability to affect positive change and address the impending threat. There is still time to alert our fellow Americans and organize a concerted and powerful response. In coming weeks, I will share more information about our efforts to ‘get the word out’ and take positive action. In particular, the initiative that Karen and I are helping to spearhead, known as the ‘Committee on the Present Danger: China.’ To learn more about the Chinese threat and our efforts to address it, please visit: www.presentdangerchina.com
Profile of the Week: Senator John McCain
The ability to participate in the first in the nation primary is a great honor. This week we are profiling a great man who served his country both in government and the military – John McCain. Moreover, he truly personified what is ‘special’ about our Presidential Primary and the the art of campaigning in New Hampshire. He won not one, but two New Hampshire Presidential Primary elections.
John McCain was best known for his straight talk – developing a reputation as a maverick. When he first ran for President in 2000, he faced a tough campaign running against a field that included among others, then Texas Governor George W. Bush and businessman millionaire Steve Forbes. With the airways flooded with Bush and Forbes ads, McCain took his message directly to the people of New Hampshire. Town by town, city by city, McCain crisscrossed the state in his campaign bus - the “Straight Talk Express” and held over 100 town hall meetings in the Granite. State. No rope line politics for John McCain - only retail politics.
And his efforts paid off big time - shaking up the 2000 election with a monstrous victory of over his opponents. John McCain held true to his commitment - running a grassroots New Hampshire campaign and while he didn’t go on to be the 2000 Republican nominee for President, he did become a Granite State ally and proved that he was a real force to be reckoned with going forward.
In 2008, we saw the return of John McCain. Fundraising was tough in 2008 with so many candidates in the race. Names in the field in 2008, included Romney, Giuliani, Thompson, Huckabee, and many others. While voters had so many options to choose from, instead, in New Hampshire, they stuck with the guy they knew, someone they had tested, and someone who embraced the traditions of campaigning in New Hampshire. John McCain easily won the 2008 First in the Nation primary – even while being significantly outspent. But this time his Granite State victory paved the path to securing the Republican Nomination for President.
So, some might say WHY New Hampshire? Well, the John McCain story helps provide the answer. It is the story of a candidate – who had been suffering in the national polls – only months before the New Hampshire primary, was given the opportunity to succeed – by taking his message and his campaign directly to the people – in small towns, meeting voters and engaging in ‘one on one’ discussions – and ultimately prevailing. This is what makes New Hampshire special. And why it is so very fitting to honor the late Senator John McCain as our Profile of the Week.
Quotes of the Week: Voting
Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
If you think you can slander a woman into loving you, or a man into voting for you, try it till you are satisfied.
Voting is completely important. People in America think democracy is a given. I think of it as an ecosystem, and what gets in the way of it is politicians and apathy.
The voting booth joint is a great leveler; the whole neighborhood - rich, poor, old, young, decrepit and spunky - they all turn out in one day.
In most places in the country, voting is looked upon as a right and a duty, but in Chicago it's a sport.