October 29, 2012

Alan Chin in Nashua, New Hampshire: Pressing The Flesh

President Obama made a campaign stop at the Elm Street Middle School in Nashua, New Hampshire on Saturday. For once, the candidates are canvassing New Hampshire at the end as well as the beginning of the election cycle, because its four electoral votes are now a toss-up. After his stump speech, during which he joked about his birth certificate, Obama took his time on the way out, shaking hands with supporters.

This baby was held above the crowd as her mother pressed her way gingerly through for a hug from the President. What’s more American than politicians kissing babies?!?

Volunteers and true believers were swept by emotion. The signs they carry have the new slogan: “Forward!” — upgraded from “Forward.” The addition of the exclamation mark, such a minor point of punctuation, has generated buzz on the blogosphere as a tea-leaf indicating the final, ultimate effort for redoubled passion and energy on the part of the Obama campaign. This is the very definition of politicking: tweaking the message, pressing the flesh and enjoying the charge of personal interaction, however brief. Barack Obama famously isn’t very good at it, at least compared to characters like former President Bill Clinton known for their glad-handing and popular touch. But in a race that’s a nail-biting dead heat, the pressure to go the extra mile is at boiling point. Every detail gets noticed, analyzed, and judged.

Outside the event, an animal rights activist stood in front of a security checkpoint. If politics is a circus, sometimes the elephants aren’t just symbols for the Republican Party.

–Alan Chin PHOTOGRAPHS by ALAN CHIN / facingchange.org

h/t to Michael Shaw on the exclamation point!

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Alan Chin
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