Ah, New Hampshire

Hello, readers of the blog.  I’m back after some R&R in Colorado and Texas.  Others might describe it as the family Christmas. 

When last I left the blog, it was the day of the Caucuses and then the Caucus results came in and then I went on Iowa Press at 7:30 p.m. Friday (a LIVE show) to talk about the results.  (I have no idea if there is anything cogent in there.  I had to stand up in the hour before the show as when I sat down, I started to fall asleep.)  Then I went out for dinner with friends, got about 4 hours sleep, packed and then flew out of Iowa at 6:30 p.m. Saturday morning.  I will return tomorrow to the newsroom, but here are a few snapshots to mull over until I get my blog on again:

Radio Iowa’s Todd Kimm, stationed at Huckabee’s Caucus Night headquarters in Des Moines, saw a bunch of print reporters standing around a small group of Huckabee supporters.  "It was like they were looking in a well," Todd says in describing the scene.  The group of Huckabee supporters then proceeded to pray for about 10 minutes.  You can hear just over a minute of it here.  Todd approached a Huckabee press aide to get the name of the women who led the group in praying.  After acquiring the name, Todd asked about the event itself.  "Just some volunteers giving the national media the story they want," was the reply of the Huckabee aide, who Todd reports had been on the campaign payroll for about 48 hours.

Radio Iowa news assistant Mary Rutherford and I went out to breakfast on Friday morning — the day after the Caucuses.  A waitress at the Drake Diner was talking about the previous morning when a national TV crew had set up to broadcast in the diner.  Later in the day, the waitress got to serve: "Ted Danson and his lovely wife." 

The two gentlemen sitting in the booth to the north of Mary and I were from Minnesota.  They appeared to be retirees who had driven down to Iowa to watch the Caucuses.  I specifically asked if they’d voted and both said no.

"I saw real joy on the faces of a lot of people last night," one of the men said to the other as they replayed their attendance at the Obama victory celebration.  "It wasn’t campaign hype.  It was pure."  The "pure" comment, by the way, came from the man who had ordered green tea with his breakfast.

I got a dose of pure joy over the past two days by spending time with my two-and-a-half-year-old nephew Evan — so there was more talk of Thomas the Tank Engine than of the latest polls in New Hampshire I watched the returns from New Hampshire last night with my nephew (Evan’s father) in his living room in Austin, Texas, flipping between the cable channels to see what was being said.

Earlier in the day, as I was pestered to sign the guest book at the LBJ Library and Museum in Austin, a woman behind the counter said, "Oh, you’re from Iowa where ya had all that ruckus.  Musta been purdy excitin’."

Indeed.  It still is.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.