, Newburyport, MA


February 9, 2013

Presidential politics frozen in place


Then hardly anyone will care that Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland, the most recent chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, worked hard to elect New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan or that he worked with Jeanne Shaheen, now the state’s senior senator, on the presidential campaign of Sen. Gary Hart, who scored a remarkable upset in the 1984 New Hampshire primary. (Word on the street: He knows how to do New Hampshire politics.)

And hardly anyone will notice that Cuomo’s son, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, has led New Hampshire Democrats not to expect any presidential maneuvering here until his re-election campaign is concluded a year from November. (Word on the street: He won’t keep the political world waiting until the last day before the New Hampshire filing deadline, as his father did, with a plane idling on an Albany tarmac and then eventually shutting down its engines.)

Nor will it matter that Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts campaigned mightily for Obama in New Hampshire last fall and seemed to connect well with voters here as he built a network of friends. (Background: Every modern Massachusetts figure running for president except Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who lost in 1980 to Jimmy Carter, and former Gov. Mitt Romney, who lost in 2008 to Sen. John McCain but prevailed four years later, has won the New Hampshire primary.)

Absent Clinton and Biden from the race, any of those figures could emerge. So could any number of relative unknowns. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota? Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York? Gov. Brian Schweitzer of Montana? Why not?

“Remember, Obama came from nowhere,” says Larsen, the Senate Democratic leader. “He was unknown — and there may be some unknowns this time. Americans like new things.”

Maybe they do. But there was no January thaw in New Hampshire this year. Up here the snow squeaks in the cold and the Silver Cascade waterfall down the side of Mount Jackson is 250 feet of ice, with no movement at all. Everything is frozen in place.


North Shore native and Pulitzer Prize winner David M. Shribman is executive editor of the Post-Gazette.

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