Standing room only for McCain

There wasn't room for everyone who wanted to see John McCain's 100th town hall in the state -- not even the press.

By Mike Madden
January 6, 2008 5:16AM (UTC)
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This was supposed to be a post about John McCain's 100th New Hampshire town hall meeting of the campaign cycle, in Peterborough this afternoon, gauging the kind of crowd he got and the atmosphere in the room where he spoke.

The only problem was, he got a crowd big enough that the fire marshal turned significant numbers of people -- including me -- away at the door.


Campaign aides sent apologetic e-mails from inside saying there was nothing they could do, as Peterborough's finest sternly kept us waiting until McCain was done taking questions. I did watch most of the event on a giant TV that C-SPAN had on the side of its bus, parked outside the building, along with a crowd of more than a dozen locals. (There were enough of us out there that a business down the street showed up with coffee and hot chocolate.) By the time I finally slipped past the cops, there was red-white-and-blue confetti everywhere, and McCain was shaking hands on his way out the back door.

Exactly what this means for McCain's chances of beating Mitt Romney on Tuesday, of course, is hard to say. (Other reporters who managed to get in to both the McCain town hall and some Romney events in the morning -- while I was flying to New Hampshire -- said crowd control wasn't a problem for the Romney campaign.)

By now, though, the action has shifted to Saint Anselm College -- where every candidate, especially the ones who weren't invited to debate, has enough supporters outside to storm through any police barricade if they wanted to. If only I had some of them with me in Peterborough...

Mike Madden

Mike Madden is Salon's Washington correspondent. A complete listing of his articles is here. Follow him on Twitter here.

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2008 Elections Democratic Party John Mccain R-ariz.