Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Take a Hint, Buddy

Try booking a smaller room next time.

Republican presidential hopeful, U.S.,Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan.
during a speech at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint
Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2007.
(AP Photo/Jim Cole)

On the bright side, his campaign could release a statement describing how "more than two dozen eager supporters" showed up to hear him sleak, and there's no way anyone who wasn't there would accuse them of padding their numbers.

On that note, here's an article from the Concord Monitor on how some presidential campaigns are coming up with their crowd estimates, which always seem to exceed (by a large margin, color me shocked) the numbers put out by local police and news media.

We happened to be at Portsmouth's Prescott Park during another Edwards rally last Sunday. It was a big crowd, enough to fill the chairs and then some. We thought it was a few hundred people. We were surprised to read press accounts that said 1,000.

So we double-checked with the Portsmouth Police Department, who were on hand at the rally. Deputy Chief Len DiSesa put it bluntly.

"They estimated around 1,000. We estimated around 300 to 400," he said. "Maybe they were counting shadows."

Bedingfield said the campaign had actually signed in more than 1,000 people - and that's a lowball, she said, because some people refuse to sign in. "The numbers that we have are usually even lower than the actual number," she said.

We can attest that the Edwards campaign was very assertive with the sign-in sheets: 90 minutes before the candidate rolled in, they were on the sidewalk outside the park as well as at a couple of tables inside the park gathering signatures. Walking into the park an hour before the rally was supposed to begin, we were chased down by staffers at two tables. So maybe, just maybe, passers-by put down their names without attending.