The Gauntlet

Published: January 11, 2012

By Jim Lichtman
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Not long after I awoke yesterday, primary day in New Hampshire, I was warned of “the gauntlet.”

“Mitt, Mitt, MITT!!”

That’s the well-intended, coffee’d-up crowd standing in front of polling stations throughout the state. Their goal is to plead, petition and cajole you, the ever-proud “Live Free, or Die” citizens of the Granite State, to cast your vote for theircandidate.

The Romney folks look intimidating, don’t they? That’s because this is the media shot from the New York Times.

Here’s my shot from outside a polling station in Concord. Not quite as ferocious looking.

The media focused on the big locations where you had groups of acolytes supporting everyone from Ron to Mitt, and Newt to Rick.

The polling station in Concord had three supporters for Ron Paul, one for Jon Huntsman and two for Mitt Romney.

A high-school senior and Romney supporter laid out exactly how he felt. “I thought Barack Obama could affect some change and I’ve been disappointed. I don’t feel we can re-elect someone who hasn’t kept his promises. I mean, he says that he’s saved the economy, but look around. It’s still not great out there for most people. I really wanted a candidate that had really good business experience in growing jobs. That was issue number one for me.”

The Huntsman supporter believed the former Utah governor had the most practical experience. “He’s been to my house; spoke in my living room with a group of us. He listens to people. I just feel he has the credentials to be president. He has the background as governor as well as business as well as Washington experience.”

“It’s all about character,” said a Ron Paul supporter, “and he’s got it! He’s the man that’s going to keep us out of World War III. Obama promised to get the troops out of both wars and we still have troops in Afghanistan. Ron Paul will not only get the troops out of the middle east but everywhere else around the world.”

Of the three Republican candidates likely to garner the most primary votes, Huntsman has criss-crossed the state spending time in living rooms, main streets and diners in Belmont, Northfield, Laconia, Meredith, Barnstead, Alton, Tilton and Concord.

That’s Jon Huntsman sitting at the counter in the Tilton Diner talking to folks.

“People saw us for who we are, as a leader.” Huntsman told a New Hampshire crowd. “Once people get to know you better and understand your style and your approach to getting things done, I think they’ll like it. I have no doubt about that.”

Me, I’m actually sitting in a booth a short distance away… on a different night. But I have it on good authority from Nicole, our spunky little server who waited on Huntsman, that he’s as unpretentious as they come, wants term limits on congress and knows good meatloaf when he eats it.”

As of this writing, according to the New York Times, Mitt Romney leads the group with better than 35%. Ron Paul is second with 24% and “Mr. Meatloaf” Jon Huntsman in third place with 18%.





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