Laurie Sailer told me Monday night that she was deadlocked between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. In an iconoclastic New Hampshire act, she voted for Clinton. It was less a vote for Clinton than a message for Obama.
"I think Obama is going to win and I think he'll be fine," Sailer, a 43-year-old power grid engineer from Kensington, N.H., said midday after voting Tuesday. "But I want him to be competitive. I don't want him to run away with it. I wanted to keep it (Obama's margin of victory) under 10 points. I want him to be forced more to stand up and be accountable and be held to a higher scrutiny.
"Obama is an unbelievable speaker. But the country can't be led by a good speech. I'd like to see him do what Hillary did when I saw her and answer questions for an hour and a half. He has the drive to lead this country. He's fresh without the baggage of Hillary. I think he has the ability to be president. But I want him to get deeper."
Sailer's decision may not have been typical, but nonetheless was part of Clinton reclaiming the women's vote Tuesday. In Iowa, Obama won the women's vote 35 percent to 30 percent. Tuesday night, according to an NBC exit poll, Clinton won the women's vote 47 percent to 34 percent. In interviews with many voters Tuesday in Nashua, it was clear Clinton made renewed claims for young women, such as 25-year-old Kim Maynard.
Maynard, an administrative assistant at an independent- living facility, said, "It was really tough between Hillary and Obama. But I heard Hillary come and give a speech to disabled citizens. That told me she did have the personal touch."
Jackson is a columnist for the Boston Globe. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.