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Campaign Cops Confront New Hampshire’s “Cookie Mom”

September 25, 2007

Londonderry, NH - When it comes to presidential campaign events in New Hampshire, sometimes just getting in the door depends on how the cookie crumbles. Earlier this month in Londonderry, the Priorities New Hampshire "Cookie Mom" was barred by police from entering a John McCain event at the instruction of local Republicans. Priorities State Campaign Director Steve Varnum says it happens from time to time, but the predicament is usually solved when calmer heads prevail.

"Occasionally there is somebody who either evicts us or threatens us in some way. We've also found that, when we talk to the higher-ups in the campaign, they assure us that there won't be any more problems like that."

Varnum notes both Republicans and Democrats have done it, but he says it usually works against them.

"When their action makes its way into the news media, that totally backfires, and they end up giving more attention to the group that they're trying to keep out."

Groups including AARP and New Hampshire for Health Care report they've experienced similar incidents. Varnum thinks most problems happen when campaigns try to control their candidates' messages at events. He says it's hard to imagine that "Cookie Mom" -– a young woman in a blue apron handing out cookies and talking to people about federal budget priorities -- threatens anybody.

John Robinson/Eric Mack, Public News Service - NH