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.
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.
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.
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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