Apple Crisps and "The Pumpkin Press Conference"

Hill staff writer Sam Youngman is covering the Clinton campaign as it travels through New Hampshire and will provide periodic updates on The Hill’s Congress Blog.

CONTOOCOOK, N.H. -- Rock star politics melded with retail politics here Sunday, as Sen. Hillary Rodham (D-N.Y.) Clinton and former President Bill Clinton took in the Hopkinton fair.

The Clintons, joined by New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch (D) and his wife, toured the fair, enjoying old-fashioned campaigning, with a Secret Service detail, of course.The former first couple began with an apple crisp, taking the time to chat with Denise Lemieux and Jarrod Wheeler, who were working the apple crisp booth, before meandering around the fair, drawing a lot interest at every turn.

Lemieux said afterward she is still undecided but she misses President Clinton.

The Clintons and the Lynches spent a good deal of time admiring the gigantic pumpkins that were bred for the pumpkin growing contest (Bruce Whittier of Henniker, N.H. was the blue ribbon winner with a 1,004-lb pumpkin).

After admiring the pumpkins and chatting with Whittier, the former president spoke briefly with reporters about the similarities between growing giant pumpkins and growing giant watermelons, the latter being a similar tradition in the president’s hometown of Hope, Ark., according to another reporter on the trip.

In what was immediately dubbed "the pumpkin press conference" by a reporter, the President Clinton chuckled as he retold his thoughts about how deciding how much water to give the pumpkins is like the presidency. Too much water evidently breaks the skin of the pumpkin, eliminating it from competition.

"You want to make it as big as you can without breaking the skin," Clinton said, adding that "constant judgment calls" like that are similar to being president.

The Clintons walked the fair in two different but equally large groups, meeting up occasionally along the way.

Sen. Clinton, moving with the efficiency of someone who has been campaigning for a while now, was always ahead. At one point, the former president was overheard asking how Mrs. Clinton continued to get so far ahead of him.

Both of them seemed to enjoy a lot of support as they walked the dusty trails. One woman introduced the couple to her children as the former president of the United States and "the future president."

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