UC Berkeley Web Feature
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|About the New Hampshire project|
During the coming week, the NewsCenter will feature coverage of the Jan. 27 New Hampshire presidential primary written by three Berkeley students working for the campaigns of Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich.
The students are enrolled in UC Berkeley's Washington Program Office. Michael Goldstein, program director, says the New Hampshire primary provides students in the program with hands-on experience in politics, bridging the gap between what they learn in the classroom and the reality of hardball politics. Later, the students will write research papers on the presidential selection process, and present their findings at an April public forum.
MANCHESTER, N.H. – "Kucinich for President! This is Hanna speaking. How may I help you?"
"Yes Hanna, I would like to attend the rally later today where Kucinich is attending. Is there any seating still available?"
This was the repeating conversation that I had for over three hours at the Dennis Kucinich campaign office here in Manchester, New Hampshire. The weather was a frigid 10 degrees outside, but the energy within the campaign office was sizzling. As I sat in metal folding chairs with three other interns likewise assigned to telephone duty, I wondered if I would have the opportunity to see Dennis Kucinich sometime during the day. The schedule for the day was posted … Kucinich would make four appearances, and his final appearance would be in Nashua, New Hampshire for a question and answer session.
I was in luck. As I entered the theater in Nashua, I was stationed at the front entrance to greet those who were attending. The crowd was lively and excited, awaiting Kucinich's speech just prior to President Bush's State of the Union Address. As the theater filled I was greatly struck by the enormous age range of supporters. Kucinich gave a wonderful speech which was followed by a viewing of President Bush's address. Soon afterward, Kucinich held a question and answer period. What surprised me was that Kucinich took the time to answer all of the questions, including a question by a 13-year-old boy. It was impressive to watch the brilliant Kucinich take the time to answer a question from a young boy.
Furthermore, I was amazed by the attention that Kucinich gave to his supporters after the rally. For over an hour, he greeted and conversed with us. Not only was I one of those lucky enough to shake hands with such a fine gentleman, but I got to hold a brief conversation with him. He took the time to ask me about what school I attended and how I was spending my time in New Hampshire. I was incredibly nervous and as a result, my answer was that I was having a great time. As the short conversation reached its fourth sentence, I quickly blurted out, "I think you're great!" The senseless remark evoked a great deal of laughter from those surrounding us and especially from Kucinich. But, this was not the end of our encounter. I took a photo with him also … both of us with big smiles on our faces.
Meeting Dennis Kucinich was definitely an experience that was worth the two hours spent canvassing in 10 degree weather! His energy and vibe was contagious! Hopefully, I will have the opportunity to meet with him again ... this time I plan to actually say something a bit more descriptive!
– Hanna Siddiqui, Jan. 22
Hanna Siddiqui, a transfer student from UC Riverside, was born and raised in London. Her great grandfather was the chief justice in India. In London, she attended rallies and marches with her family and became keenly aware of racial discrimination. This sparked an interest in law and politics. She is a Political Science major and plans to become a lawyer. Hanna is fluent in Hindi and American Sign Language.