NPR logo

Richardson, Hunter Hit July 4 Events in N.H.

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Richardson, Hunter Hit July 4 Events in N.H.


Richardson, Hunter Hit July 4 Events in N.H.

Richardson, Hunter Hit July 4 Events in N.H.

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The Fourth of July usually gives politicians an opportunity for some old fashioned campaigning at parades and community events. Robert Siegel gets some tips on face to face politics from presidential hopefuls Gov. Bill Richardson and Rep. Duncan Hunter as they wait for a parade to start in Merrimack, N.H.


While Senator McCain is in Baghdad, many other presidential hopefuls are out campaigning in the early contests states. The big Democratic headliners are in Iowa - the Clintons and Barack Obama - so are Republicans Romney and Brownback. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson is up in New Hampshire and we found him in Merrimack.

Governor, are you doing a lot of parading this Fourth, I gather?

Governor BILL RICHARDSON (Democrat, New Mexico; Presidential candidate): Yes. I'm on my third parade and it's fantastic. We've done parades, a lot of handshaking, a lot of July 4th celebrations, great atmosphere, wonderful weather but mainly handshaking and that's how I'm campaigning, grassrooting myself but through New Hampshire.

SIEGEL: How many times have you said today, hi, I'm Bill Richardson?

Gov. RICHARDSON: A couple of thousand times. And then last night, we had a parade at midnight. You know, New Hampshire always wants to be first so they had the first July parade in a town called Greenville, New Hampshire. And they rang a bunch of pots to celebrate independence.

But, you know, New Hampshire is retail politics. Presidential politics shouldn't just be who raises the most money, who's the biggest celebrity. People want to see you. They want to touch you. They want to shake your hand. They want to ask you questions. And you know, when you're shaking hands and saying I'm Bill Richardson and say, by the way, how do you feel about the war in Iraq or health care. What are you going to do about health care? What are you going to do about immigration? So…

SIEGEL: You actually get to have those - even on July 4th, you get to have conversations about health care or dealing with the North Korean nukes or something?

Gov. RICHARDSON: Absolutely. And it's pretty hard when you're trying to march in a parade, and someone asks your position on global warming. You don't want to forget them, but you've got to keep marching on or the parade will leave you behind. But you've got to just show that you're ready to engage and talk and, you know, you sweat a little bit and your hand gets a little pained because your shaking so many hands.

But that's what I love to do, and that's how somebody like myself gets known in New Hampshire because I don't have the resources some of the other candidates have. But I - they like the positive message that I bring, which is basically that I can bring this country together. I'm the most qualified candidate -foreign policy, energy governor. But we still got six months to go. But there's nothing like fun on a July 4th parade and shaking hands. I'm about to get ready to do my next one.

SIEGEL: I see. Just before you go, I gather, tomorrow, you're about to make a historic visit to Marlow, New Hampshire.

Gov. RICHARDSON: Well, that's right. This little town has never had a presidential candidate come. It's a town of about a couple of hundred people and they've made a big thing out of it, which caused my people to say, well, this is an opportunity. So I'm going to go to Marlow and hopefully in the primary, I'll be the candidate that wins Marlow because I'm the only one that's been there. But this is the way New Hampshire is. They want to see you. They want to touch you.

SIEGEL: Yeah. Just one last question before I let you go, when you're campaigning like this on a holiday, in particular, do you find that you have to sort of eat out of courtesy, and how do you watch what you're taking in there when you're out?

Gov. RICHARDSON: Well, no, you got to be very careful because everyone shots food and, you know, I got a little weight problem so I got to be careful. You got to go with the flow. After all, it's about getting votes and I'm trying to get votes here in New Hampshire.

SIEGEL: Okay. Well, Democratic Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico, thanks a lot for talking with us.

Gov. RICHARDSON: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

SIEGEL: We did find another presidential candidate in New Hampshire today. In fact, in the very same town waiting for the very same Fourth of July parade to begin, Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter of California.

Congressman, how is it going today?

Representative DUNCAN HUNTER (Republican, California; Presidential Candidate): Hey, it's going great, and we are here in Merrimack and getting ready to go off the street. It's an all-American day in an all-American parade and a great time to reflect on freedom, and the folks had fought to give us that freedom.

SIEGEL: And how many times have you said, hi, I'm Duncan Hunter, today?

Rep. HUNTER: Oh, you know, I try to meet a couple of thousand people a day, so probably a couple thousand times.

SIEGEL: Well, how much actual discussion of what the presidential race is about? How much can you get into a day like the Fourth of July when you're shaking hands with people all the time?

Rep. HUNTER: Well, you try to pass out your literature, your brochures, you talk about issues, line there strong national defense, enforceable border - I built that border fence in San Diego and wrote the law that takes you to cross the Arizona into Mexico and Texas border areas - and also bringing back high-paying manufacturing jobs to this country that we pushed offshore with bad trade deals.

SIEGEL: And you think that's what people in New Hampshire want to hear about today or they're just going to have another hotdog?

Rep. HUNTER: Well, I think they - there's a lot of people who want to know - they want some depths, others are just glad to see that you're there. And so when you're going down the parade route, you need folks that have - that go all the way from wanting to sit down and talk to you, which, of course, you can't do because you have to keep moving. There are folks who just want to know that you're there and they're glad that you arrived.

SIEGEL: Well, from what you've learned about doing this so far, what is your guidance to the candidate working New Hampshire on the Fourth of July?

Rep. HUNTER: See lots of people, keep moving and drink lots of water.

SIEGEL: Okay, well, Congressman Hunter, thank you very much for talking with us.

Rep. HUNTER: Hey, thank you. And if there's any folks listening from Iraq and Afghanistan - my son is out there, is in Afghanistan right now as a U.S. Marine - thanks to everybody wearing the uniform for giving us the freedom to be able to celebrate this Fourth of July. Thank you.

SIEGEL: Duncan Hunter, Republican congressman from California and one of the two candidates - the other one is Democrat Bill Richardson - who were working the Fourth of July parade in Merrimack, New Hampshire this afternoon.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.