When you combine the words "tea party" with "presidential candidates" and "media event," you get, well, a media event. And the little get-together held April 15 at the State House was just that.
The problem, however, is that it was yet another in a long line of low-turnout, high-media-attention New Hampshire tea party rallies.
This time - with two top-tier presidential candidates as headliners (Rick Santorum and Tim Pawlenty) and two lesser-known wannabes (Herman Cain and Buddy Roemer) and an array of New Hampshire conservative celebrities, all gathering on "Tax Day" - they mustered what organizers themselves said was 300 people, although other, less subjective observers estimated at less than that.
The most intriguing aspect to it all is that folks of a certain political stripe within the walls of the State House are pointing to the event as yet another example of the absolutely overwhelming support among New Hampshire voters for their slash-and-burn budget proposals. And when there were at least 2,500 people on the very same spot almost exactly two weeks earlier - calling on the budgeteers to reconsider the slashing and burning - those people were, and apparently remain, ignored.
F&J TOTE BOARDHerman Cain: The lower-profile GOP presidential wannabe wows the crowd at the April 15 tea party rally in Concord, with 61 percent of post-rally texters saying the Georgia businessman gave the best speech.Tim Pawlenty: The former Minnesota governor wins over 17 percent of those same post-tea party rally texters.Rick Santorum: The former Pennsylvania senator takes 14 percent of the same texters.Mitt Romney: The former Massachusetts governor and apparent front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination announces formation of an exploratory committee in an online announcement taped at UNH.Mark Connolly:The former director of the state Bureau of Securities Regulation is reported as considering a run for the Democratic nomination for governor, if John Lynch calls it quits.Carol Shea-Porter: The former 1st District Democratic congresswoman announces plans to unseat Frank Guinta, the man who unseated her in 2010.Wally Stickney: The former state transportation commissioner and head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency under George H.W. Bush, signs up to chair Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman’s potential GOP presidential bid.
It's been making the rounds...• Will there or won't there be a school-funding amendment this session? The odds are now 3-1 against.
• So now that he's tried the attorney general and the courts, Speaker O'Brien thinks his job also involves overseeing the Executive Council.
• Wow, did the Senate send a message to Rep. Neal Kurk on his proposal to cut pension benefits for state retirees: 24-0 against.
• Not that he necessarily needs reminding, but Associate Attorney General Richard Head shouldn't be spending too much time planning for those new business cards that read "Deputy Attorney General."
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This article appears in the April 22 2011 issue of New Hampshire Business Review