NH winner Kerry urged to avoid ketchup stains

By John Breneman

Sen. John Kerry won a convincing victory in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, prompting pundits to say the only way he could lose the Democratic nomination now is if he gave a ranting speech punctuated with an unnerving scream.

Kerry's handlers have also advised him to avoid cursing, belching and phony-looking Harley Davidson photo-ops as the race moves to South Carolina and beyond.

"One accidental fart on national television could be the soundbite, or 'smellbite' if you will, that could derail the front-runner," said media analyst Joe Mentum. "Howard Dean has proven that one embarrassing misstep, replayed on cable news 145 million times, is all it takes to change the entire campaign landscape."

Kerry also has been cautioned about making lame jokes, getting ketchup on his shirt and spending too much time with Teddy Kennedy.

Though he says it is "too early" to talk about potential running mates, sources say Kerry may look past the usual suspects like Sen. John Edwards to consider a pretend politician like Martin Sheen, Will Ferrell or Wesley Clark.

Howard Dean finished second in New Hampshire, followed by Clark, Edwards and Joe Lieberman, but notoriously cantankerous Granite State voters showed their displeasure at the entire Democratic slate by casting write-in votes for Portsmouth Mayor Evelyn Sirrell, Patriots football coach Bill Belichick and political newcomer Michael Jackson, coming of his surprise victory in the Iowa caucuses.

Election interpreter Chad Counter, commenting on the results of an exit poll conducted at Exit 14 on I-93, said New Hampshire citizens used their votes to convey a range of emotions: "anger, hunger for change, fear and loathing, bewilderment, angst and unbridled sexual desire."


N.H. voters crushed in primary stampede

By John Breneman

Some election analysts predict a low turnout in today's first-in-the-nation primary, saying voters in New Hampshire are so physically and intellectually battered by round-the-clock campaigning that many may lack the strength just to drag themselves to the polls.

"Wes Clark's people called me 14 times last night. I couldn't get any sleep," said Reggie Sturdvoter, adding that Howard Dean shook his hand so vigorously that the resulting torn ligaments may prevent him from voting.

Several Portsmouth residents reported minor injuries from being jostled amid boisterous factions of sign-waving campaigners and one downtown resident said he sustained inner ear damage from the nonstop howling and horn-honking just outside his window.

Another factor that may affect turnout, pollsters say, is the high number of prospective voters who've simply wandered off the campaign trail in search of more peaceful terrain. One such man didn't get very far.

"I tried heading for the high country, but John Kerry cut me off on a Harley and asked if I thought he was cool enough to beat Bush," said Hampton resident Archie Stump.

Many Granite State residents say they are eager to perform their civic duty but are confused about who to vote for.

"I like that guy that yelled and squealed, but now they say he's no good cause he yelled and squealed," said Chad Puncher of Exeter. "Maybe I should vote for that cute young southern boy or that rich older fellow who says he cares but looks like he doesn't."

While the Democrats clash over who is best suited to knock President Bush out of the White House, each campaign appeared to share the view of a Kucinich spokesman who said, "We're confident that if we can just get enough people to stand on the street corner waving signs, freezing their asses off and yelling 'Woooooo!' at the top of their lungs, we'll be able to win this thing."

Kerry held a double-digit lead over Dean, but both men trailed the 52 percent of voters who said the first-in-the-nation primary is fun and everything but now wish the candidates, their entourages and the media would just "shut up and get the hell out of New Hampshire."



Grain Expectations