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From Ted Danson to Gov. Hassan, Clinton Camp Prods Democratic Voters Across N.H.

You would have had a hard time finding presidential candidates in the state this past weekend – most were in Iowa ahead of Monday's caucus.


But that doesn’t mean campaigns ignored New Hampshire – particularly Hillary Clinton’s.



The Clinton team staged a massive, statewide get-out-vote effort Friday through Sunday: almost three dozen separate events, with thousands of volunteers and just over one week left.


But in addition to rank-and-file volunteers, several members of Congress, governors, and other elected officials from across the northeast, as well as a handful of celebrities, joined the campaign.


Ted Danson, star of the 80s sitcom "Cheers" and "CSI," was among the group that gathered Friday night for a phone-banking session in Concord.


Credit Paige Sutherland/NHPR
After talking with volunteers actor Ted Danson then headed down the road to Cheers in Concord.

“If I had the whatever to tell you how to vote, I would. I don't," Danson told the crowd. "I can share with you the 22 years of friendship that came from marrying my wife Mary Steenburgen, who’s known the Clinton for 36, 37 years - raised kids together, Bill gave her away at our wedding. Truly family friends,” he said.


Danson, who’s also an environmental activist, used his personal link to rebut claims that Hillary Clinton is not to be trusted.


“She’s truly the most trustworthy person I’ve ever met. Most loyal - she has shown up every time I’ve had an Oceania event in the midst of saving the world and being Secretary of State she would still find time out of friendship to come and support the work that I am doing with an organization called Oceania,” Danson said.


After rallying up the phone-bankers and signing autographs for many campaign volunteers, Danson then settled in for an evening drink at a restaurant just down the road. The name? Cheers, of course.


Saturday Morning in Nashua


The next morning, about 500 people, many members of a carpenters union, gathered in an elementary school gym in Nashua. Their plan? To canvas just about the entire city.


"So those of you who have packets in your hand right now, let’s get out the door," a Clinton staffer told volunteers right before they headed out.



Credit Jack Rodolico/NHPR
About 500 volunteers, mostly from the Carpenters Union, canvassed in Nashua on Saturday.

Gov. Maggie Hassan and Congressman Joe Kennedy of Massachusetts were also here to get the crowd ready. Fliers and maps in hand, volunteers from all over New England hit the streets.


"Hey, the fortune’s in the follow up," said Kendal Edwards, who came up from Boston to pitch in.

"Honestly, just to support the movement. You know, what I like about the union is -- it’s a brotherhood. So as far as what Hillary has to say – her message – I feel like it’s in alignment with what we’re about," Edwards said.


Meanwhile in Manchester


Edwards was far from the only Bostonian to head to New Hampshire for Clinton. The city's mayor, Marty Walsh, also joined in the door-knocking.

This was Walsh’s third time canvassing for Clinton in New Hampshire. So far Walsh has knocked on dozens of doors. And he’s meeting some Democrats who are still making up their minds on who to vote for. Like Mark Biletch.



Credit Paige Sutherland/NHPR
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh hits the streets of Manchester to reel in more voters for Hillary Clinton.

“I’m still a bit undecided about Hillary Clinton,” Biletch told Walsh, explaining how he waits until that last moment in the booth to decide. “I know you are going to vote Democratic,” Walsh said outside Biletch's doorway.


“I have never voted alternatively," Biletch said.

“Well, when you do pull that lever or flip that card, think about the general election too. It is about winning that big one too,” Walsh said.


Later on in Salem


The door-knocking continued that afternoon, in Salem -- though with fewer TV stars or big-city mayors. There, Massachusetts State Treasurer Deb Goldberg got a couple dozen canvassers fired up.


"You know what you need to do," Goldberg said. "Knock on those doors. Persuade the person on the other side. So remember what I always do at the end. We do a group hug. Come on in everybody," she said as the crowd broke out in laughter. "We do. We do a group hug."



Credit Jack Rodolico/NHPR
An organizer stands by a cardboard sign of Hillary Clinton at a canvass event in Salem.

At this point in the primary race, the campaign is targeting certain houses – houses where they believe voters are most likely to vote for Clinton. Norma Shulman of Framingham is working with three other volunteers.


"We have 37 doors on one list and 44 on the other. And we hope to reach everyone that needs to have a conversation," Shulman said.


Multiply those numbers by thousands of volunteers stretching across the state in the final days of this campaign. And one thing these Clinton volunteers say working in their favor: No matter where they go: everybody knows their candidate’s name.

Before joining NHPR in August 2014, Jack was a freelance writer and radio reporter. His work aired on NPR, BBC, Marketplace and 99% Invisible, and he wrote for the Christian Science Monitor and Northern Woodlands.
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