We’re in busy JD’s Tavern in Manchester, New Hampshire, where anyone can get a free (and quite good) hamburger. Why? Because it’s MSNBC’s broadcast site. TV producers need a hubbub-y background of happy New Hampshirites for on-air interviews with candidates, handlers, poll-takers and pundits.
Right now, Carly Fiorina is at a corner table waiting for her hit. Not sure she’s eating a hamburger, or, if she is, that she knows it’s free. Either way she doesn’t look happy. Near our spot is boisterous Rhode Islander Tad Devine, all smiles. And why not? He’s Bernie Sanders’ media man, responsible for that inescapable Simon & Garfunkel “America” ad.
The gravitational pull of the New Hampshire primary is stronger than any other place or moment in a presidential campaign. The conflation of politics and media is total, symbolized by JD’s, a large Radisson complex filled with network and print staff.
Locals here think that only intense local campaigning can win a race in the state. But media momentum — free and paid — also counts. If Donald Trump manages to win, he’ll damage the New Hampshire brand. But if the locals engage in their patented “strategic voting” — voting for one candidate to STOP another (i.e. Trump), who knows?
They’ll tell you the answer in JD’s on Tuesday night. Get your hamburger order in early, as these are the 12 things you need to look out for.
Photos: Getty, Associated Press
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