New Hampshire Voter: “Obama Couldn’t Run A Lemonade Stand”

October 5, 2012

BERLIN, NEW HAMPSHIRE – Mitt Romney is a part-time resident of this tiny state, and his fiscally conservative, socially moderate tenure as governor of neighboring Massachusetts once seemed a good match for New Hampshire’s independent and libertarian-leaning electorate.

Yet, Romney trails President Barack Obama in polls here, as he does in most other presidential battlegrounds, despite spending considerable time and money to lock up the state’s four Electoral College votes. Some New Hampshire voters say they are turned off by his shift to the right on issues like abortion, while others have absorbed the message from Obama campaign ads depicting Romney as a wealthy corporate titan who doesn’t understand the concerns of ordinary Americans.

“He’s just another rich, arrogant son of a gun,” said Norm Small, 61, a registered independent who runs a bowling alley in Berlin in northern New Hampshire. The town is home to many of the working-class white voters who have never embraced Obama, but interviews found many residents deeply skeptical of Romney’s fiscal policies and aura of privilege.

Small said he was offended by comments Romney made at a secretly videotaped Florida fundraiser suggesting that 47 percent of people see themselves as “victims” entitled to public assistance and unwilling to take responsibility for their own lives. The Obama campaign is running a tough new ad in New Hampshire drawing attention to those remarks.

“The people who are getting help probably really need it,” Small said. “Romney says 47 percent of people are living off the dole? He should realize that lot of them are struggling.”

Polls until recently had shown Romney giving strong chase to Obama in a state Obama carried by nearly 10 percentage points over Republican John McCain four years ago. But an NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist Poll released last week showed Obama leading Romney by 7 percentage points — 51 to 44 percent — among likely voters.

The Romney campaign’s TV advertising has dipped somewhat in the state in recent weeks but has been buoyed by ads from the super PAC American Crossroads. Aides downplayed the advertising drop, noting the state does not have an early voting program, meaning voters can be wooed through Election Day, Nov. 6.

“We are committed, we are focused, and we have a ground game that is extraordinarily strong,” Romney senior New Hampshire adviser Jim Merrill said. “This state is absolutely in play.”

Romney has made the state part of his identity; he formally announced his 2012 presidential candidacy at a New Hampshire farm and has spent many weekends at his vacation compound on Lake Winnipesaukee.

New Hampshire has not always been the most hospitable place for Obama. In the 2008 Democratic primary, voters snubbed him for rival Hillary Rodman Clinton just days after Obama routed the former first lady in Iowa’s kickoff caucuses.

Berlin resident David Viger says Obama’s tax and regulatory policies have hurt and in some cases shut down local businesses. The 61-year-old auto repair shop owner says he is eager to vote for Romney.

“Romney is a successful businessman. Obama is not,” Viger said. “Obama has no clue on how to run a business. Obama couldn’t run a lemonade stand.”

New Hampshire is the smallest of the major battleground states. But both sides are acutely aware of its potential to alter the outcome if the national contest is tight.

They point to 2000, when Democrat Al Gore lost New Hampshire by just 7,000 votes to Republican George W. Bush. Had Gore prevailed in New Hampshire, he would have had the 270 votes needed to win the election and the famously disputed Florida vote would not have determined the race.

Romney still must convince voters here he’s still the pragmatic problem-solver they observed in Massachusetts.

“A fiscally conservative, socially libertarian message wins here,” New Hampshire Institute of Politics director Neil Levesque said. “The message is: ‘Stay away from me, stay away from my life, and, by the way, what’s going on with all the spending? … Washington is out of control.’”

Romney’s focus on jobs may not fully resonate in New Hampshire. The state’s unemployment rate of 5.7 percent in August is far lower than the 8.1 percent national average, blunting his effort to cast Obama as a poor steward of the economy.

Romney also faces a considerable gender gap — the NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll found Obama leading Romney among women by 20 percentage points, 57-37 percent.

Manice Moser, 33, said she would vote for Obama chiefly based on his record on women’s issues. The stay-at-home mother of three said her vote was driven more by antipathy to Romney than excitement about the president.

“The most important thing is women’s rights. I have two daughters and they should be able to control their choices,” Moser said.

Romney was pro-abortion rights as Massachusetts governor but since has shifted his position to opposing abortion in most cases, a position more in line with the social conservatives who make up a large portion of the national Republican Party base. He has vowed to end federal aid to Planned Parenthood, a leading provider of abortion and contraception services.

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Nutcase Hillsborough County New Hampshire Sheriff’s Candidate Frank Szabo Promises To Use Deadly Force To Stop Abortions And He’ll Arrest Anyone Involved

August 24, 2012

MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE – A man running for sheriff in New Hampshire says if he is elected, he will arrest anyone involved in an abortion in his county.

Szabo is running as a Republican for Hillsborough County Sheriff. But he injected a new issue in the debate when he sent out a press release saying he would arrest anyone performing an abortion.

He took it a step further when asked how far he’d go to stop one.

“Deadly force is the last thing law enforcement should be using, if a citizen’s life is in danger they should be protected,” says Szabo. “If there is no other choice, that’s what’s needed to protect the citizen.”

Republicans called Szabo’s statement, “Irresponsible, outrageous, and inappropriate.”

Democrats said, “Every Republican officeholder and candidate in New Hampshire must condemn and reject this man and his beliefs.”

His opponent, current Hillsborough County Sheriff James Hardy says Szbao’s statement could incite violence.

“My opponent wants to substitute his opinions for enforcing the law,” says Sheriff Hardy.

And voters in downtown Manchester seemed surprised abortion was even an issue the sheriff’s race.

“I’m not sure how he feels he can get away with that,” said one woman.

“I think people have strong opinions and it would influence how they vote,” said another woman.

Szabo isn’t backing down.

He says, “Why is there a difference between someone who is 20 years old and their life is in danger and someone who is nine months in utero.”

Szabo will face off against the current sheriff in the Republican primary next month.

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Jaffrey New Hampshire Cancels Annual Atlas Fireworks Festival To Pacify Terrorist – Local Police Department, With Long History Of Incredible Stupidity, Call In State And Feds To Investigate

August 18, 2012

JAFFREY, NEW HAMPSHIRE — The Annual Jaffrey Festival of Fireworks that draws tens of thousands of people to the town every August has been canceled after authorities received a bomb threat in a letter.

The festival was planned to take place on Saturday.

Jaffrey police, the Jaffrey Chamber of Commerce and the Keene Sentinel received the threatening letter on Thursday.

“In those communications, the author indicated a direct threat of violent action that would take place at or near the local airport where the Annual Jaffrey Festival of Fireworks is scheduled to take place this Saturday, August 18th.

An investigation was begun immediately. Due to the nature of this threat, I have sought assistance from local, county, state and federal agencies,” Police Chief William Oswalt said in a press release.

“This is being investigated as a bomb threat directed at the people attending the fireworks show with the apparent motive of causing disruption of the event and an adverse impact on the Town of Jaffrey,” he wrote.

The annual fireworks festival has been a fundraising event for the chamber of commerce for many years and has traditionally taken place at the Silver Ranch Airpark in town. Atlas PyroVision Productions of Jaffrey puts on the fireworks show.

That investigation is being led by the Jaffrey police with assistance from the NH Attorney General’s office, the U. S. Attorney, NH State Police as well as agents from the FBI, ATF and the Postal Inspector’s office.

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Southwest Airlines Pilot Assaulted By TSA Agent Bob Harbaugh At Manchester New Hampshire Airport When He Dared To Complain About Screening And Ask For Agent’s Supervisor

August 12, 2012

MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE — Police are investigating a confrontation between a pilot and Transportation Safety Administration supervisor at a security checkpoint in Manchester-Boston Regional Airport on Friday.

There were no charges filed Friday and investigators planned to look at video surveillance footage to determine whether any were warranted, Londonderry Police Lt. Tim Jones said.

An officer on patrol at the airport responded after something angered Southwest Airlines pilot John Mcghie as he went through security screening around 10:30 a.m, Jones said.

Mcghie complained he had difficulty in the past with security at the Manchester aiport and demanded to speak to a supervisor, who only upset Mcghie more, Jones said.

“He felt that the supervisor was condescending and patronizing. He wanted the supervisor’s name but he refused to give it,” Jones said.

The argument escalated from there, but never got more physical than TSA official Bob Harbaugh touching Mcghie’s arm, Jones said.

“At that point Mr. Mcghie told him not to touch him. Mr. Harbaugh became defensive and threatened to call the police,” Jones said.

Police arrived and took accounts from both men.

Mcghie said he told Harbaugh not to touch him a second time and Harbaugh complied, but the pilot told police he still wanted to see Harbaugh face criminal charges.

Mcghie also said he never raised his voice during the incident and told the officer that he had problems with the TSA at Manchester in the past.

The TSA was aware of the confrontation by Friday afternoon and was leaving the final investigation up to Londonderry police.

“A preliminary review of the situation indicates that the officer followed proper screening protocol,” said Ann Davis, TSA spokeswoman for the Northeast Region. “We’ll await the Londonderry Police Department’s findings as well.”

Southwest spokeswoman Christi McNeill said the airline was also looking into Mcghie’s actions but had no immediate response on Friday afternoon.

A message left at a listing for a John Mcghie in Concord was not immediately returned.

Jones said the argument did not heat up enough to draw the attention of any witnesses. Mcghie told police he was not loud during the confrontation.

Although the airport is in Manchester, Londonderry police are under contract to oversee law enforcement at the airport.

Jones said the security footage taken at the checkpoint area should clear up whether the confrontation amounted to an assault.

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Hillsborough County New Hampshire District Attorney’s Office Charges Journalist With Reporting On Manchester Police Officer Darren Murphy Slamming A Handcuffed Student’s Face Into A Cafeteria Table

August 5, 2012

KEENE, NEW HAMPSHIRE – The controversial felony wiretapping charges journalist and CopBlock.org founder Adam ‘Ademo’ Mueller is facing will go to trial, a situation that has stirred up a hornet’s nest of free speech advocates in New Hampshire. The “Free Ademo” supporters are planning to show their support en masse at Hillsboro County Superior Court when jury selection for the trial begins at 9 a.m. Monday, August 6. This will be the first time an activist has taken a case this serious to trial since the state passed HB 146, a jury nullification law that ensures the defense’s right to inform the jury of their right to issue “not guilty” verdicts when they disagree with the application of the law in question.

According to court documents, the three wiretapping charges stem from a vlog Mueller posted on CopBlock.org, which featured recordings of on-duty public officials being interviewed about alleged police brutality at a local school. Mueller was reporting about a video recorded by a Manchester West High School student’s cell phone, depicting Officer Darren Murphy slamming a handcuffed student’s face into a cafeteria table. The video later went viral.

“Why am I in jail with a guy who beats up his wife and gets a one-year sentence from the state, but I’m facing 21 years for filming somebody?” Mueller told Judge Kenneth Brown in court last week. “I am confident I can show a jury, with facts and logic, that I shouldn’t be caged for my actions. My mind is free and my conscience is clear. I haven’t harmed anyone and I’ve done what I feel is right. I’ll be an activist of freedom until the day I die,” he later wrote in a blog posted to CopBlock.org.

Muller’s case (docket #216-2011-CR-01055, State V. Adam Mueller) is not a unique one. There have been many similar stories in the media over the last couple of years, with police hiding evidence of misconduct by threatening people with wiretapping laws and other catch-all charges, such as refusing to obey a lawful order, interfering with a police officer, disorderly conduct or obstructing an arrest. More frequently, police won’t make arrests but they will illegally confiscate cameras, delete videos and photos or incorrectly tell citizens that filming is not allowed.

“A public official who is on duty and in a public space has no expectation of privacy. The First Circuit Court of Appeals has already ruled on this in Glik vs. Cunniff,” said Ian Freeman, co-host of the nationally syndicated radio show Free Talk Live. “The person who should face consequences is the officer who threw that poor kid into a table during lunch at the school cafeteria, not the journalist who reported about it.”

Although free speech activists are planning to pack the streets near the courthouse at Monday’s jury selection in Keene, many are already participating in a phone call and letter writing campaign to Judge Kenneth Brown and Michael Valentine, the prosecuting attorney for the “Live Free or Die” state. A full list of ways that the public – including those who live outside of New Hampshire – can participate in CopBlock’s “Free Ademo” campaign can be viewed on their website.

“Bring on the circus!” Mueller told the judge in anticipation of his trial, which is scheduled to begin August 13.

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Bedford New Hampshire Police Officer Charged With Stealing Vest As Police Motorcycle Club Robbed Store Dead After Committing Suicide At Home

May 19, 2012

BEDFORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – A second police officer charged with stealing a vest last May from Brian Blackden’s North State Street pepper spray supply shop died at his home May 11, the day the complaints were filed in court.

Gary Norton, a 48-year-old Bedford police sergeant, had not yet been issued a summons for the misdemeanor theft charge, Concord police Lt. Timothy O’Malley said yesterday.

O’Malley said he couldn’t comment on Norton’s cause of death, but Assistant Safety Commissioner Earl Sweeney confirmed the sergeant’s death was a suicide, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader.

Sweeney did not return calls for comment yesterday, and neither did Bedford police Chief John Bryfonski. An obituary published in the Union Leader yesterday said Norton, who worked for the Bedford police for 15 years, died at his home May 11.

Norton and Hill police Sgt. Jonathan Evans, 56, were charged with theft by unauthorized taking for allegedly stealing a vest last May from Blackden’s store at 485 N. State St., where Blackden says he was robbed and threatened by five members of a police motorcycle club.

The complaints, which were signed by the Concord police and filed in Concord’s district court, don’t provide any description of the incident beyond the allegations that Norton and Evans took a vest that belonged to Blackden. O’Malley has directed questions to the Cheshire County Attorney’s Office, where he said the case was transferred because of possible conflicts of interest.

The assistant Cheshire County attorney handling the case, John Webb, did not return calls for comment.

Blackden said he was robbed by men who belonged to the Road Dawgs, a motorcycle club for active and retired officers. The men, who were wearing the club’s colors, took the vest because they believed it belonged to them, Blackden said.

Evans said Thursday that he had been a member of the Road Dawgs but resigned from the club last year. He didn’t comment further on the allegations but said he “didn’t break the law doing anything of that nature.”

Evans’s employment status hasn’t changed since he was charged, and Chief David Kranz said he and the selectmen were confident Evans “had no wrongdoing in the incident.” He is due in court June 18.

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Botched Police Raid In Greenland New Hampsire Ends With Three Dead, Including Police Chief, And Four Other Officers Shot

April 13, 2012

GREENLAND, NEW HAMPSHIRE – The body of a man suspected of killing a New Hampshire police chief and wounding four other officers during a drug raid Thursday has been found in a house along with that of an unidentified woman, the Attorney General said.

At a news conference, Attorney General Michael Delaney said a police robot placed in the house around 2 a.m. Friday detected the bodies of suspect Cullen Mutrie and a woman. He said both died of gunshot wounds.

The two had been holed up in the house since the shootings took place Thursday evening.

Officials said Greenland Police Chief Michael Maloney was killed and four other officers were injured when Muthrie opened fire on them. Two officers were shot in the chest and were in intensive care early Friday. Two others were treated and released. The four injured officers were from area departments and were working as part of a drug task force.

The shootings Thursday evening devastated Greenland, a town of 3,500 near the seacoast that had just seven police officers including Maloney, 48, who was due to retire in less than two weeks.

“In those final days, he sacrificed his life in public service as a law enforcement officer in New Hampshire,” Delaney said.

Maloney had 26 years of experience in law enforcement, the last 12 as chief of the Greenland department.

Jacqueline DeFreze, who lives a half-mile down the road, said she was crushed by reports that the chief had been shot. She’d planned to attend a surprise party for his retirement.

“I’m a wreck. He was just the greatest guy,” said DeFreze, a fourth-grade teacher in nearby Rye. “He’s kind-hearted, always visible in the community.”

John Penacho, chairman of the town’s Board of Selectman, said Maloney was married with children.

“It’s a blow to all of us. You’re stunned. It’s New Hampshire, it’s a small town,” he said. “We’re stunned. I mean all of us. It’s an unbelievable situation.”

Asked what the town will do to help residents cope with the tragedy, Penacho said “We’ll do whatever we need to do.”

Lee Miller, who lives next door to where the shootings took place, said she heard at least six shots on Thursday. Fearing for her 12-year-old grandson who was visiting her, she said she went to the window and saw someone on the ground. Moments later, police knocked on her door, telling them to run outside and take cover behind a police cruiser.

Police later escorted Miller and her grandson to a nearby school.

State police and officers from many departments responded after the initial call around 6 p.m. Thursday.

Gov. John Lynch was at Portsmouth Regional Hospital, where the officers were taken. He asked residents to pray for the injured officers and Maloney’s family.

“My thoughts and prayers and those of my wife, Susan, are with the family of Chief Michael Maloney. Chief Maloney’s unwavering courage and commitment to protecting others serves as an example to us all,” he said.

The tree-lined street, closed off by police, features single-family homes and duplexes. The shootings took place at 517 Post Road, a 2-bedroom, 1½ -story structure that’s listed as owned by the Beverly Mutrie Revocable Trust, according to tax assessor records.

The Portsmouth Herald reported in February 2011 that Cullen Mutrie, 29, was a resident of the home on 517 Post Road and had been arrested and charged with possession of anabolic steroids.

The newspaper reported that the steroids were found in the home when officers went to confiscate guns after Mutrie was arrested on domestic assault charges. According to a police affidavit, the steroids were found in Mutrie’s living room on July 24, 2010, but were not verified by the state crime lab until Jan. 18.

Miller told The Associated Press that she had complained to police repeatedly about suspected drug activity at the house and had been told it was under investigation.

She said late-night fights at the house were so frequent that she moved her bed around so that it was no longer near a window facing the driveway.

The other officers shot were: Detective Gregory Turner, 32, a six-year veteran of the Dover police department, who was treated for a gunshot wound to the shoulder and released; Detective Eric Kulberg, 31, a seven-year veteran of the University of New Hampshire police department, who was treated for a gunshot wound to the arm and released; Detective Scott Kukesh, 33, a 10-year veteran of the Newmarket police department, who was in intensive care awaiting surgery for a gunshot wound to the chest; and Detective Jeremiah Murphy, 34, a seven-year veteran of the Rochester police department, who was in intensive care after surgery for a gunshot wound to the chest.

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