I'd just done a quick about-face on Concord's State Street after realizing that my camera battery died when Robert Geary and Tommy McKenna, two obvious Clinton supporters sporting "Hillary-Smart Choice" stickers asked me if I'd forgotten something. My four-block walk up State Street hadn't led to any conversations, so I jumped at the chance to chat with the two Clinton volunteers.
When asked if he's bothered by the growing interest in Barack Obama, Clinton supporter and Local 17 (Sheet Metal Workers International Association) member Robert Geary, pointed at me with his finger and pointedly said, "You want to know the truth? I don't want to change everything. There's just some things that really need to be fixed. Obama scares the hell out of me. Why change everything you have? There's no need to change the system, it's the best one in the world. Hillary is ready to work the system and fix what needs to be fixed." Robert lives in Boston, MA and this is, he told me, at least his 15th visit to New Hampshire to volunteer for Clinton's campaign. He's a devoted union member, and sports a "Hillary-Smart Choice" baseball cap, as well as several "smart choice" pins on his coat.
Robert was accompanied by Tommy McKenna, a 30 year-old construction worker from Boston, MA, who quickly summed up his support for the only female candidate in the race. "It all comes down to being a blue-collar worker. Clinton is the best for us. She knows what issues workers face in America." Tommy's also wearing a "Hillary-Smart Choice" sticker, jeans, sneakers, and a worn baseball cap. This is, he believes, his 5th time in New Hampshire, and he'll stay until the polls close. He began tuning into the election several months ago, and can't imagine not being involved.
Before Robert and Tommy left to pick up more Clinton signs to post in downtown Concord, I couldn't resist asking them what they make of Obama's credentials. "Everybody's hung up on McCain's age, but no one is talking about his," Robert said glumly. "Three or four years before 9/11 Obama got his first federal job. Hillary and McCain, they'd done a lot by that time." Robert sees real parallels between Obama and Deval Patrick, Massachusetts' current governor and an African-American who endorsed Obama and joined him on the trail. "He's like Deval Patrick. He's taken it too far. Just roll up your sleeves and get to work, stop all the talk.... When you're in the legislature, you gotta be nice. It's not the same as president."
According to Robert, Hillary's up this morning in Concord. Now that my battery's got some juice, I'm off again, and will see if I can get some insight into this morning's polling results. Stay tuned.