03/28/2008 02:45 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

From Biden To McCain: The NH Independent Swing Vote

Time's Ana Marie Cox had an interesting exchange with a McCain staffer at Saturday's Town Hall event, which brought out a crowd of 1,200 and packed the hall to capacity, leaving supporters overflowing outside. Per Cox:

A McCain aide nodded his head to the crowd and said, "Impressive, huh?"

I said, "It's not an Obama crowd."

"Well," said the aide, "We're not running against him."

Of course, he is, a little bit: Those undeclared voters, which are apparently breaking 60% for Obama. But another McCain staffer claims that the independents that decided the race for McCain in 2000 are as important this year: "We're gonna split the Republican vote with Romney. We don't need a majority of them, just a few. If only three independents vote for McCain, we'll win."

Well, count on at least one: Dennis Grimes of Bedford, New Hampshire. I met him and his buddies, Herman Streitberger and Tim Klein at the Dunkin' Donuts in Bedford en route to Saturday's McCain event, and asked them for their thoughts on the primary. In addition to noting that it was both long and ad-saturated, Grimes said that he was switching his vote to McCain now that Joe Biden had dropped out — from Democrat to Republican. This is an example of a NH independent who is not going to Obama — despite the fact that he is unequivocally a spoiler for McCain's indie hopes (per ABC's Jake Tapper: "McCain's events today were crowded, but the lines for Obama events are like those for a Hannah Montana concert"). Just as Grimes and his buddies are probably not interested in Hannah Montana, they have their own criteria for the kind of candidate they'll support: "I just wanted someone who was moderate who had some experience."

Watch the video here:

NB: Streitberger and Klein are both WWII veterans, and Grimes was in Vietnam, but my camera battery ran out before I could get them talking about that, alas. They mentioned that in terms of recognizing the kind of experience McCain would bring to the table. Only Grimes had made a decision at the time we spoke, however.