James Forsyth

McCain rallies his band of brothers

McCain rallies his band of brothers
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After the Obama rally, I headed up to Peterborough for a John McCain town hall. The population of the town is 6,000 yet McCain had 600 at his event with the police blocking more people from entering. It is awesome, in the proper sense of the word, how seriously New Hampshire primary voters take their first in the nation role. Talking to them afterwards, one couldn’t help but be struck by their knowledge of the candidates’ records and the sheer number of events they’d been to. Interestingly, a couple of people I spoke to had previously been for Bill Richardson, the Democrat who came fourth in Iowa, but were now moving over to McCain as they don’t think Richardson can win.

As McCain exited the building, lots of people approached McCain to shake his hands. Interestingly, they were nearly all veterans—some from World War Two, others from Korea and Vietnam and a few from Iraq. Watching him talk to them one felt like on was butting in on private business; there is clearly a bond there that those of us who have served can not fully comprehend. (15% of the state's population are veterans)

The press interest in McCain—who is six points up in the latest New Hampshire poll—is intense and the campaign is buzzing. One McCain volunteer gleefully told me that Romney had only drawn 60 people to his even in Peterborough a fortnight ago. It used to be the conventional wisdom that both McCain and Obama couldn’t triumph in New Hampshire as they both appeal to the same set of independent  voters. But judging by today’s events and the latest polling they both have to be regarded as the favourites to win their respective contests. 

PS Thanks to my old colleague Mike Boyer for the photo

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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