A veteran political reporter details what’s missing from the 2012 New Hampshire primary — snow.
MANCHESTER, N.H., Jan. 7, 2012 — To a veteran political reporter who has covered the last seven New Hampshire primaries, this 2012 edition is different from all the others: There is no snow on the ground.
This is the Granite State – a winter sports mecca where hardy natives shrug off a blinding blizzard as a minor inconvenience. So to see green lawns, bare sidewalks and unfrozen lakes just two weeks after Christmas makes you want to keep pushing the reset button. Something is wrong with this picture.
This is the legendary frozen landscape where in 1980 Republican Ronald Reagan donned a parka and drove a snowmobile, GOP Sen. John McCain’s campaign bus broke down in knee-deep snow in 2000 and one reporter nearly broke his back in 1992 falling on the ice as he trailed Democratic Sen. Bob Kerrey in 1992.
In 1988, an early morning snowstorm prevented many frustrated reporters from getting to the surprise news conference where former Secretary of State Al Haig dropped out of the Republican race and endorsed Bob Dole a few days before the voting.
And who can forget the dramatic image of 1972 Democratic frontrunner Edmund Muskie crying in the snow as he gave a speech condemning stories about his wife written in the Manchester Union Leader.
No such memorable snow events this year.
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum signed baseballs and hugged babies near a picturesque pond in Amherst Saturday wearing a light-blue sport shirt and navy-blue sleeveless sweater. On Friday, he held an outdoor rally in a parking lot in Manchester, a rare primary event here, where the more-common venues are overheated high school auditoriums and gymnasiums, American Legion halls and senior citizen recreation centers.
So losing candidates won’t be able to excuse their poor showing this year on snow keeping their voters away from the polls. No snow is forecast between now and Tuesday’s vote. Primary Day temperature will reach a balmy 42 degrees. That’s more like April here.