Tuesday, August 16, 2005

New Hampshire Gets Another Reason Not to Pick Romney

We saw last week that Mitt Romney comes up short to both John McCain and Newt Gingrich in (very) early New Hampshire Primary polls. I understood McCain's appeal in the fiercely independent Granite State, but I couldn't figure out why Romney did so poorly compared to GOP has-been Newt given that Mitt shares a media market with most of the state, and has a second home up in Wolfeboro. Maybe New Hampshire residents just don't want the hassle of hosting a president. Local officials from Kennebunkport, Maine -- where George Bush the elder spends his summers and the son frequently visits -- warn Wolfeboro that presidential visits are not all smiles and sunshine.

“Everything ground to a halt if [President George H. W. Bush] was going to play golf or if he was on the move to the airport,” Fiske said. He remembers the scene: helicopters overhead, Coast Guard cutters offshore, Secret Service snipers watching the town square, media vans everywhere. Locals got used to checklists and traffic stops. Lobstermen, tired of having their boats searched, stopped throwing traps in a cove near Bush’s home.

Tourism and businesses benefited, but Kennebunkport also was targeted by activist groups, and it took more than a year for the federal government to reimburse the town for police overtime costs, Fiske said.
Of course, Romney has a long way to go before Wolfeboro has anything to worry about. If I were a resident, I wouldn't be losing any sleep over this just yet.

Thanks to the Fray for pointing out the article.