So far this election season, record numbers of Americans have tuned in for the Republican primary debates. Watching a debate on television is a great way to hear the candidates discuss their views on the key issues of the day.
Here in New Hampshire, however, we have something that most other states do not: as the home of the First in the Nation primary, we get the chance to meet the candidates in person and ask them questions face-to-face. It’s a rare opportunity where they’re forced to answer the questions without a reporter or campaign staffer providing a buffer.
And that’s why, my wife Gail and I decided to invite the GOP candidates to our home in New Hampshire this fall for a series named the “No BS Backyard BBQ.” The idea is simple: gather a few hundred uncommitted and interested voters, activists and grassroots leaders in our backyard and have them ask a would-be president where he or she stands on the important issues.
Like you, we’re sick of the B.S. We want candidates with real solutions to the serious challenges facing our country. We want to hear what they’re going to do to restore America’s greatness.
The first candidate to feast on hotdogs and watermelon in our backyard was Ohio Governor John Kasich. About 260 undecided voters came to meet the governor and ask him questions. ObamaCare, corporate taxes, the Iran Deal, and the growing problem of heroin addiction were a few of the topics he addressed.
Governor Kasich made a point of letting guests know that he planned to run a positive campaign based on ideas to improve the lives of all Americans, regardless of their background or where they came from.
Next up was New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Known for his straight talk, blunt demeanor and his masterful ability of the traditional town hall meeting (which is so important in New Hampshire), Governor Christie held court for more than two hours, answering each and every question in a direct and thorough way. With his performance that night, it’s easy to see how he was twice elected as a Republican in a very Democratic state
Even though today’s social media allows for more direct contact with candidates than ever before, nothing takes the place of real face-to-face meetings. Having the opportunity to look someone in the eye and ask questions is an important part of getting to know the person behind the campaign promises and the TV sound-bites. That’s why it’s so important for New Hampshire voters to ask the hard questions and truly vet the candidates.
Like many across our state and country, Gail and I have not made up our minds on who we will be supporting in February’s primary, but we have gotten to know most of the candidates running on a personal level, and can confidently say that they all are great Americans who care deeply about this country and would improve upon the failed policies of the last seven years.
These candidates running would also all be far better as president than Hillary Clinton, whose ongoing email scandal and long list of failures at the State Department show that she is not the person we need to lead America. Instead, we need a Republican leader that will put forward conservative policies that allow us to grow the economy for all Americans and keep our country safe.
It is our hope and belief that our country’s next president will be at our home some time during the next few months. We hope the people of New Hampshire will take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about these candidates so that they can make an informed and confident decision when they head to the ballot box.