Michelle Obama and Senate hopeful and former New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen are holding an event today in Manchester, aimed at getting Democratic and independent women in New Hampshire to support Obama. That's a good strategy. Senators Obama and Clinton are holding a manufactured, non-retail, dog-and-pony show tomorrow in Unity, N.H., that might hurt as much as it helps.
It's not because New Hampshire voters won't turn out-- they will. It's not because they don't want to see Senator Clinton or Senator Obama-- they do. But strategically, Obama does not need to overtly court Clinton voters in New Hampshire. Obama needs the independent voters who thought he had a lock on New Hampshire and used McCain to send him a message to view him as a real change candidate. New Hampshire indies will look for the Party Nominee that better embodies and communicates change.
The Unity event is a Democratic red-meat event. That's fine during the primary cycle, but now it's time to move to the middle. New Hampshire is small, with only four electoral votes, but it can make all the difference as a battleground state. Al Gore, for example, would have been the 41st president if he'd won here, something that should have been achievable once Bush beat McCain for the nomination in 2000.
Speaking of President Bush, he knows a lot about how manufactured, non-retail, dog-and-pony show events go over in New Hampshire. Voters showed him loud and clear that nothing replaces a handshake and a look in the eyes to get a vote in New Hampshire.