Last week I spent two days in New Hampshire attending campaign events for five different presidential candidates: GOP hopefuls Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Ted Cruz, Gov. John Kasich and Gov. Chris Christie, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is seeking the Democratic nomination. At various points the meetings I attended were inspiring, amusing, frustrating, stupefying and boring. But it wasn’t until I traveled to Pittsfield, New Hampshire, that it became enraging.
The event was a town hall meeting where Christie spoke to employees of a small manufacturing company. The topics ranged from drugs and immigration to the federal budget and the self-declared Islamic State. When it ended, I asked a woman standing next to me what she thought. She claimed to have liked what Christie had to say, but the way she hemmed and hawed in replying suggested his remarks had not made much of an impression. Then I asked her if there was any specific issue that was particularly important to her.
“ISIS,” she said, using one of several acronyms for the Islamic State. “I’m really worried about ISIS.” She told me she was concerned about her kids and her grandkids and what kind of world they would find themselves in with groups like the Islamic State threatening America.