Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton kick start their official "Unity Tour" descending upon the tiny rural village of Unity, New Hampshire (pop. 1530), this Friday and State Rep. John Cloutier (D-Claremont) gave OffTheBus an exclusive interview, saying "I think it's just great! They [Obama and Clinton] split the vote evenly in Unity during the primary -- each got 107 votes -- so it makes perfect sense that they'll come back to Unity, and I'm honored just to have them both come to my county."
Revisiting important states during the hard-fought primary campaign with Mrs. Clinton, who narrowly won the New Hampshire primary, the presumptive nominee is now turning his attention toward bringing Sen. Clinton's stalwart supporters -- women and working class white voters -- into the fold by campaigning with Sen. Clinton at his side. He is also making speeches during campaign stops this week aimed at proving his credentials as a presidential candidate who understands and cares about the working-class voters that are so crucial to a Democratic win in the general election.
Rep. Cloutier said that Mrs. Clinton remains a popular and powerful figure in his state, where voters fondly remember former President Bill Clinton. Clinton's support of Sen. Obama is critical, he said, to bringing the Granite State's four electoral votes into the blue column this November.
"It's important that the Democrats work New Hampshire because Sen. McCain is very well thought of here. But, with concerns over the Iraq War, high gas prices and worrying about how we're going to heat our homes next winter with the high cost of oil, this should be a Democratic year and we are trending blue. We won a majority in the state house and senate in 2006 and that's the first time that has happened in 80 years."
According to Cloutier, Sen. Obama has a better-than-average chance of winning New Hampshire in the fall if Sen. Clinton is successful in bringing her loyalist to the Obama team.
This is already happening, if you believe the latest American Research Group, Inc. poll [June 18, 2008], which found Obama leading McCain 89 percent to 5 percent among Democrats (31% of likely voters), while McCain leads Obama 74 percent to 10 percent among Republicans (31% of likely voters). The big swing group in the Granite State, however, remains Independents (38% of likely voters), and they favored Obama 53 percent to 38 percent for McCain.
Even though the primary season is over, Coultier reminded Democrats that small states like Iowa and New Hampshire are still important.
"If Al Gore would have carried New Hampshire in 2000, he wouldn't have needed to win Florida," said Coultier.