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By Benjy Sarlin
PORTSMOUTH, NH – Senator Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Kicked off her first New Hampshire City Hall. She asked the audience to let her address the "elephant in the room" before going any further.
The crowd was waiting for her to continue … Was it about his file of Attorney General and Attorney General? Was he acting out of his position on climate change or health care? Was it about the Jussie Smollett case, about which a journalist had questioned her earlier in the day?
"I have plans to participate in New Hampshire," she said at Monday's event. "I have the intention of spending time here.I have the intention to shake all the hands that I can.I want to talk with you, I want to listen to you, I want to be challenged by you. "
It was one of the many times Harris had made his point of view during his visit. "I intend to do well here," she said Tuesday during a speech at a breakfast "Politics and Eggs" at St. Anselm College.
From the outside, it would have seemed too obvious to mention: Why would a presidential candidate be there if not to campaign?
But in a state that may have trouble defending its first-ranking status in the nation and whose voters like to see their candidates closely and where, often, Harris knew she could have skeptics. After all, it was not just his first stop in the New Hampshire campaign, it was his first visit to the state.
The first-year Democratic nominee who appears at the party's inauguration goes further south to South Carolina, where black women constitute a potentially decisive electoral bloc, and to California, where his advantage over his country from his home country is not so great. Origin could help to win a treasure of delegates a few days later.
"The people of New Hampshire feared, when she took part in the race, to focus on Iowa and South Carolina and let New Hampshire pass or give it symbolic attention," said Chris Naldieri, associate professor at St. Anselm College.
Senator Bernie Sanders, winner of New Hampshire in 2016, and Senator New Englander, Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Among others, face tough competition, but dismissing the state would represent a risk for Harris. Previous candidates who planned to use subsequent competitions to debut have sometimes had difficulty with poor performances in Iowa and New Hampshire.
"From her point of view, she does not need to win, but she has to do well," Galdieri said.
Until here everything is fine. If Harris was suffering from hurt feelings among the voters who expected her to be there earlier, there was no evidence at her events.
In Portsmouth, a line of hundreds of people had spread out around the block in the icy snow to attend the public meeting. Harris stopped in front of the crowd outside before the event and in a covered overflow area to thank them for their presence and apologize for the fact that the site had unfortunately reached its peak. capacity of 1,500 people.
"There is certainly a level of excitement (around his visit)," said Raymond Buckley, chairman of the Democratic Party. "Very few Democrats from New Hampshire have met him."
Addressing the audience, Harris addressed his "truth and justice" campaign themes, telling the crowd that it was time to face the facts and attack at problems such as inequality and racism. She received great applause for her support of Medicare For All and the Green New Deal. She told one of those present that she would support a proposal to rename the Columbus Day "Aboriginal Peoples Day".
Harris has also focused extensively on criminal justice reform, an area in which she has worked as a prosecutor in the field of double-edged criminal prosecutions.
"We have failed to allocate resources to our public education system and we are investing tons of money in a mass incarceration system," she said. in Portsmouth. The next day she called the drug war "an abject failure".
At the time of the event, several voters said his law enforcement and law enforcement experience was positive, with some citing his interrogation of Trump officials and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. as an essential element of their support. However, they had also heard criticism from the left about his record, which raised concerns about Mrs. Harris' excessive caution in supporting progressive reforms on issues such as punishment, the death penalty and brutality. police.
Brands Milbourne, 35, said Harris was "by far the best candidate" and his first choice of president while he and his wife were waiting outside. But he wanted to know more about his criminal record, some of which, says Milbourne, "seems preoccupying" based on his conversations with friends.
"I like her police appearance," said Rose Downes, 52, after her stay at City Hall, while she was wearing a "Kamala Harris For President 2020" t-shirt. "I know it's not PC to say."
Until now, what distinguishes perhaps the most Harris, is his optimistic tone. Rivals like Warren and Sanders have taken a more confrontational approach, making their campaign a crusade against the wealthy elites who manipulated the government and manipulated the system to increase profits at the expense of the middle and middle classes.
Harris, without ignoring these ideas, emphasized a warmer and more blurred union than a call to arms.
"We are an ambitious nation," she said. "We have not yet achieved these ideals, we know it, but our nature is to struggle to reach them and we can not lose that ambitious nature of who we are because it is part of our strength."
In Saint-Anselme, she said she did not agree with the idea that "people who have worked hard and managed to succeed must be defamed."
"I do not believe that, I applaud it, it's the pursuit of the American dream," she said, even though she added that not everyone has the same chances in the current system.
Harris did not often mention President Donald Trump, but gave weight to the recent government shutdown and she described the wall as one of his "vanity projects."
"You talk to people who take an oath to protect our border and they will tell you that the drug and firearms traffic coming into our country is happening at the points of entry," she said. . "We do not need a multi-billion dollar wall – this wall is not going to stop them."