Primary Source: Popping the media bubble in Claremont

  • John P. Gregg. Copyright (c) Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to Geoff Hansen

  • Larissa Cahill pins a pro-voting button on fellow Claremont resident Frank Fahey before a campaign even for Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren at the Common Man restaurant in Claremont, N.H., Friday, Jan. 18, 2019. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to James M. Patterson

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 5/15/2019 10:14:12 PM
Modified: 5/15/2019 10:14:56 PM

The national spotlight will be back on Claremont Sunday night as Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg appears at a Fox News Channel town hall forum at Stevens High School.

Although U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., this week said she wouldn’t do such forums on the Trump-friendly network, calling Fox News “a hate-for-profit racket,” the forum will be hosted by the fair-and-balanced Chris Wallace, not one of the hyper-partisan broadcasters on the opinion side of the Fox News machine.

And in a phone interview on Wednesday, the 37-year-old Buttigieg said “it’s really important to reach people where they are,” and that he feels Fox News has a “a lot of viewers who are tuning in in good faith.”

“If we unilaterally decide that they shouldn’t hear Democrats’ messages, then we shouldn’t act surprised if they have a dim or distorted view of what we believe and who we are,” he said. “If you see a media bubble, I think you do everything you can to pop that bubble and expose people to different ideas, and I’m looking forward to doing that with the Fox viewership.”

In the 10-minute interview, the mayor from Indiana and former Rhodes Scholar showed he had done a little homework on Claremont, likening the woes his city of South Bend experienced in the 1960s after carmaker Studebaker folded to the decline in Claremont when the Joy Manufacturing plant closed. But he also talked about the upswing with the renovation of old mill buildings along the Sugar River.

“I’m eager to see it for myself, eager to talk about the kinds of ups and downs for communities that were targeted by this president’s message that the only way you can reach to an industrial or post-industrial area is to promise to turn the clock back, which I think is neither desirable nor possible. So it just feels like good turf to have that conversation,” he said.

To attend the Fox News forum, register through Doors will open at 5 p.m. and close at 6:30 p.m., and a government-issued ID is required. The hourlong forum itself will air live Sunday evening at 7.

Closer to the heart of the Upper Valley, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., is bringing her presidential campaign to the Dartmouth campus Sunday evening.

The three-term senator — who turns 59 later this month — graduated from Yale and the University of Chicago Law School and serves on the Senate Judiciary and Senate Agriculture committees.

Klobuchar will be speaking at 6 p.m. Sunday at the Cook Auditorium at the Tuck School of Business in a forum on the changing economy moderated by Tuck Dean Matthew Slaughter. Be forewarned — Dartmouth students, faculty and staff will have first crack at seating.

Rooting for Biden

Claremont is home to a retired educator who is one of New Hampshire’s most diligent voters, of the grassroots kind. That would be Frank Fahey, 75, a former Kmart manager and teacher at Stevens and school administrator in Newport who gained fame during the 1988 presidential campaign when he asked then-U.S. Sen. Joe Biden about what law school he attended, and where he placed in his class.

Jabbing his finger toward Fahey in response, Biden gave a notoriously bad answer that was captured by TV cameras, saying, in part, “I think I probably have a much higher IQ than you do, I suspect,” and noting that he went to law school at Syracuse with a full academic scholarship.

This cycle, Fahey has gone to campaign events with Warren, Beto O’Rourke, John Hickenlooper and Kirsten Gillibrand but said he is rooting for the 76-year-old Biden, whom he has reunited with in previous campaign cycles.

“I will be voting for the man,” said Fahey. “I wish, like myself, we were a little bit younger. When you are 75, 76, that creates problems for all of our bodies, but I have a lot of respect for him. He’s the total opposite of what we currently have as president. He’s a good, decent, moral man, and we’ve got to head back in that direction, in my opinion.”

Sununu to seek re-election

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, who considered challenging U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., next year, instead will seek a third term in Concord.

“Nothing is more critical to our state’s future than ensuring strong leadership in the Corner Office and saving our New Hampshire Advantage,” Sununu said in an announcement on Tuesday night.

“We are getting the job done. … More people are working today in New Hampshire than at any time in history,” the 44-year-old Republican said, citing the state’s low unemployment rate and what he said was an “all-time high” for wages.

He also took a shot at the 72-year-old Shaheen, the first woman to be elected both governor and senator of a state.

“We all know that I would defeat Jeanne Shaheen, but others can too. Never before has a sitting 12-year Senator from New Hampshire accomplished so little,” Sununu asserted.

In fact, a UNH Survey Center poll last month found Shaheen “remains popular” in the state, with a 50% favorability rating and 31% unfavorable, with the latter primarily among Republicans and Trump supporters.

From ‘Nashville’ to Hanover?

Dartmouth College named four new trustees this week, including actress Connie Britton, who graduated in 1989 with a degree in Asian studies. Also joining the board are private-equity investor Daniel Black, fleet-management executive James Frank, and environmental lawyer Hilary Tompkins.

Dartmouth said Tompkins, who graduated in 1990 and is a member of the Navajo Nation, appears to be the first Native American to serve as a Dartmouth trustee.

John P. Gregg can be reached at

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