Last night having a brisk pre-prandial stroll through the streets of Nashua, we paused at the Howard Dean Campaign office to see when he may be back in town. The eager workers were madly welcoming and desperately anxious to know how just far towards Dean we were leaning. I think they wanted specific degrees, so often did they ask. But, it's hard to know this early in the Primaries. I was very impressed with Dean listening to his views at the Nashua party I attended. On a personal front, I liked his handshake. I liked our brief conversation and that, in response to what I so mischievously said, he threw back his head and gave a hearty, infectious laugh. I also liked his retort which balanced seriousness with humor. I think he is a quality candidate.
However, that craggy Senator from Massachusetts, John Kerry, has a sage "big picture". He expressed a global perspective I have not, heretofore, heard from the others. I liked the way he arrived at the party with punctuality and without fanfare. I like the way he grabbed a plastic garden chair and stood on it, to make sure that everybody could see him. Not that he is height challenged. Indeed, when I got to speak with him, he bent over to hear me better, so much so that people thought I was kissing him on the cheek.
John Edwards from North Carolina is nothing less than a sweetheart. He is possessed of a rare "people" gift. He makes eye contact with everyone. He moves in close, eschewing the formality of the speaker. He is passionate, energetic and, I believe, genuinely caring about the human predicament. He has something of the JFK and the Bill Clinton in his personable air. And it does not hurt that he is eye candy. I quite liked his politics and I suppose I forgave him for responding to my comments with the cliche "I hear you".
Joe Lieberman, the one other candidate whose meetings I have attended, did not fire me up. He seemed sincere enough and was most certainly a superb speaker. Perhaps I did not like the presence of two Congressional security goons with bulges under their suits. Or perhaps I just think that he is yesterday's man. I did not seek to speak with him.
I am eagerly awaiting the NH visits of the other candidates, of course. It's a fair line-up. Meanwhile, we have tonight's TV debate. The Dean campaign people have an array of Debate Parties arranged and quickly invited us to attend one. I am tempted - for it would be a magnificent further insight within the American political experience. But I have bought lovely fresh Maine crabmeat and intend to make New England crabcakes.