THE PLANK AUGUST 17, 2007
Looking for another good reason to bring an end to New Hampshire's undue influence over who we elect as president? Meet Katherine Prudhomme-O'Brien. From an article in today's Manchester Union-Leader:
Giuliani was taken aback during a morning town-hall meeting at Brookstone Event Center in Derry by a question about his family from Katherine Prudhomme-O'Brien, a Derry mother.
"I'm going to phrase it a lot more gentle than my nephew did, but he wanted to know how you could expect the loyal following of Americans when you are not getting it from your own family?" she asked, and then apologized for being blunt.
Prudhomme-O'Brien said she is not a novice to retail politics and has taken advantage of face-time with other candidates to ask similarly tough questions, including an exchange with Al Gore in 1999 about an alleged rape committed by Bill Clinton.
At an evening town hall meeting with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in Londonderry, she said if given the chance she would press him on why New Hampshire residents who work in Massachusetts and pay income taxes there do not get in-state tuition for college or other benefits.
The Union-Leader article doesn't mention it, but Prudhomme-O'Brien also confronted Hillary Clinton with a question about the rape allegations against her husband last month in Nashua--which earned her a guest appearance on "Hannity & Colmes." (Something tells me she won't be making any return appearances now that she's attacked Hannity's BFF Rudy.)
Presidential candidates often wax rhapsodic about how they're able to engage with voters on such an intimate level in New Hampshire. And there's no doubt some truth to that. But it's a bit ridiculous that cranks like Prudhomme-O'Brien get an opportunity to play such an outsize role in our presidential process. Granted, there are cranks like Prudhomme-O'Brien in every state. But those cranks don't get a quadrennial opportunity to dominate a day's news cycle.