Joe Biden at a final stop in New Hampshire.

2020 Notebook: A final New Hampshire lunch with Joe Biden

NASHUA, N.H. – Every four years, stories abound about jaded early-state voters who hardly bat an eye when presidential candidates wander into their lives. I got to see that for myself on Tuesday in this soggy corner of New Hampshire. 

In between deadlines on a rainy primary-day afternoon, I ducked into a mostly empty restaurant in downtown Nashua and ordered spicy Thai noodles. As I was assiduously avoiding the broccoli, I looked up and noticed camera crews had filed in. 

A waitress shrugged. “I think Joe Biden is coming,” she said. 

More: Sanders tops New Hampshire primary, Buttigieg in close second 

More: A Georgian’s guide to the New Hampshire primary

The former vice president had just minutes before announced he was ditching New Hampshire’s primary and jetting for South Carolina, where he’s staking his campaign on strong support from black voters. 

And he, his wife Jill Biden, a few aides and a small clutch of traveling press made an unscheduled visit to this restaurant before skipping town. 

Why the AJC sends reporters to other presidential primary states

Atlanta Journal-Constitution political reporter Greg Bluestein is in New Hampshire covering the lead-up to Tuesday's Democratic primary, as well as the results of the election.

Why would a Georgia paper send a reporter out of state when there is abundant political news at home? New Hampshire and Georgia are two very different states, but voters in both share many of the same concerns and the same national picture.

Early voting for Georgia’s March 24 presidential primary begins March 2, less than a month after the primary. That means the story coming out of New Hampshire will influence what happens here.

Bluestein will also follow a number of Georgians from both parties who are spending time in early primary states to support their candidates. Their stories are part of the larger tale of Georgia’s role in the presidential contest.

 

Cameras rolling, the owner greeted the Bidens at the door, noting that he had hobnobbed with dozens of candidates over the years. 

“Jimmy Carter, sure,” he told me, adding that he even remembers John F. Kennedy’s trips to town about six decades ago.

More: N.H. Notebook: Abrams has more VP competition, Romney gets a roar
More: N.H Notebook: A quest for undecideds and Biden’s ‘dog-faced’ jab

With reporters trailing, Biden made the rounds. Some diners took selfies with him, others offered polite greetings and carried on with their meal. 

The two men sitting next to me shifted back to their conversation almost as soon as he came by, another customer eagerly told him about a recent fundraiser he hosted. 

Soon he had disappeared into a back booth in deep conversation with a couple of locals. An aide eventually gently extracted Biden, then seated him in a booth with his wife next to a couple of Andrew Yang supporters. 

They didn’t even seem to notice. 


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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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