Some of those attending a morning campaign event say they’re upset that Ron Paul left early.
MANCHESTER, N.H., Jan. 9, 2012 — Even the day before the primary, voters are using last-minute meet and greets to help finalize their decisions.
Rep. Ron Paul’s breakfast scheduled for this morning at Moe Joe’s restaurant was less personal than planned and left some voters more uncertain than convinced.
Only minutes after the candidate arrived, members of Paul’s staff abruptly ended the event, quickly ushering the congressman to his car and leaving constituents’ questions unanswered.
Karen Heller, 55, a mother and retired Manchester attorney, heard of the event while taking her daughter to school. Undecided, she went with her mother, Beatrice Roth Heller, who’s in Manchester from her winter home in Florida expressly to vote Tuesday.
“It is important to meet the candidates, look at them, and talk one on one with them,” Karen Heller said.
But Heller didn’t get that chance.
“You are making a mistake!” she shouted, just feet away from Paul as he made his way to his car, which was surrounded by media. “There is a room full of New Hampshire voters inside waiting to meet you!”
Heller says Paul’s swift exit was a crucial mistake given the state’s significance in the long-term and the historical desire of its constituents to meet with the candidates.
“This is the importance of the New Hampshire primary,” Heller said. “If it weren’t for Iowa and New Hampshire, none of these guys would have a chance.”
Although Paul didn’t comment, Heller said a staff member told her the sudden departure was caused by unease over the swarm of reporters.
“His aide told me that it was too dangerous and that if I could get the media to leave, then they would come back inside,” Heller said, adding the staff member told her she was being used by the media. Heller did not identify the staff member.
She said she “was hoping to fall in love with Ron Paul today” and make her voting decision.
“Every year I feel like I’m throwing my vote away,” she said. “I really like Jon Huntsman, but I have this problem where I always choose the person that doesn’t have a chance.”
One decision Heller has made: “anybody but Romney.”
Beatrice Roth Heller said she was disappointed with more than the lost opportunity to meet with the Republican nominee hopeful.
“I woke up so early to meet him and I didn’t even get to see him,” she said. “And I didn’t even like the eggs.”