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Fortress New Hampshire

Romney’s redoubt.

Jan 2, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 16 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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No pandering? Huntsman tells New Hampshire voters that they are in a “unique position” to “change history.” At a small gathering in Plaistow, Mary Kaye Huntsman sashays in wearing a New England Patriots football jersey over her blouse. “My wife does not pander,” Huntsman winks, letting the folks know he’s in on the joke. There’s a ruffle of laughter, but those who might be most swayed by the jersey are at home, watching the final minutes of New England’s victory over Denver.

Huntsman says Republicans have balked at the fact that Obama appointed him ambassador to China. “I was raised, I guess, in a different era, where you serve your country first,” Huntsman tells me. “[I understand] now full well that there were many who, when they saw me in the race, they glossed over me. They said, ‘He crossed a partisan line, that’s unacceptable. And he served in China, and that’s totally unacceptable.’ I mean, come on, please.”

Back in Bedford, Romney closes his speech. “In this election, let’s fight for the America we love,” he says. “Because we believe in America.” The town hall erupts into applause as Kid Rock’s country-rock anthem (and Romney campaign theme song) “Born Free” blasts from the speakers. Clad in a blazer, an Oxford shirt, and a pair of blue jeans, the former Massachusetts governor steps off the stage. A mob of voters and television cameras descend upon the candidate, all trying to see a man who could actually be the next president of the United States.

If you’re Mitt Romney, Fortress New Hampshire looks pretty secure. Of course, that’s how fortresses always look before the battle.

Michael Warren is a reporter at The Weekly Standard.

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