Reporters trailing Hillary Clinton during Saturday’s Fourth of July parade in Gorham, N.H. were cordoned off with rope, but the presidential candidate was considerably more hospitable with an at-home chat for 300 locals earlier in the day in Glen, N.H. The former Secretary of State started the morning by getting up-close-and-personal with a thoroughly-vetted circle of voters at the hilltop home of Julie and Michael Levine. What was Clinton’s first official campaign stop was originally planned for The Notchland Inn in Hart County where Rep. Ed Butler has a time share.
After Clinton nixed that plan due to spotty Internet service, innkeeper Mark Dindorf dialed up his friends the Levines. Away on Maine’s Monhegen Island, their teenage daughter Dana back at home needed some convincing that the Secret Service would in fact be stopping by for a recon mission. Aside from the as-New-Hampshire-goes-so-goes-the-nation element of the location, the White Mountains enclave is among the first pockets of the country to report Election Day results.
Dressed in a fitted, tailored red blazer and navy pants, Clinton served up an All-American message, as in steering the country to a better place for future generations like her granddaughter Charlotte, Julie Levine said. “She talked about wanting to make it easier for everyone to start small businesses and not wanting people’s dreams to end in bank parking lots,” Levine continued. “She said she wanted to increase the minimum wage, lower the cost of college, and improve education and health care too. Another thing she talked about that is pertinent to some people in New Hampshire was substance abuse, and mental health issues.”
The first-lady-turned-candidate came across as “extremely warm and authentic,” said Levine, adding that many on-the-fence voters like herself seemed to be won over. “Her campaign people told me a lot of people seemed to be influenced in the direction,” Levine said.
Team Clinton also upped the guest list from 41 to 300, after interest hiked after The Conway Daily Sun reported the Levines’ address. “I don’t know how it happened. No one took the blame, or the credit, depending how you look at it. But somehow our names and address wound up in the local paper,” Julie Levine said. “I kept telling her camp there were too many people for our house but they said they just wanted to see how many people they could get to volunteer for the campaign and sign up with their emails. They got excited about how many people were interested.”
So many in fact that an alternate location was considered but time ran too short, according to Levine. So an indoor chat became an al fresco one with handlers doing all the heavy lifting, as in lugging the patio furniture. In the end, Clinton (and her entourage) were all smiles, personally thanking the Levines and “looking them in their eyes.” The former senator from New York was on her own on Independence Day. Her husband Bill was nowhere to be seen. “That would have been cool,” Levine said.