Around midday today, the former Democratic rivals will make their first joint public appearance since she dropped out of the race — and the event will be held in Unity, a tiny town in western New Hampshire where Obama and Clinton each received exactly 107 votes* in the January 8 primary.
Here’s a quick primer on Unity, from Wikipedia:
is a town in Sullivan County, New Hampshire, United States. The
population was 1,530 at the 2000 census and an estimated 1,715 six
years later. The town includes the villages of East Unity, Quaker City,
and West Unity. … The racial makeup of the town
was 99.35% White, 0.07% African American, 0.13% Asian, and 0.46% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.72% of the population.
The percentages from the 2000 census indicate that Unity had literally one black person, two Asians, seven mixed-race individuals, and eleven Latinos. Oh, and 1,509 non-Hispanic whites. Heh.
Anyway, here’s an AP article about how Unity is gearing up for today’s big event. It opens with the obligatory quote from a local old lady: "I don’t remember having any presidential candidates here in my time," says 84-year-old Roberta Callum. And then there’s this, regarding the expected crowd of 2,500: "Locals say the last time there was a crowd that big was for a 1970s performance by folk singer Arlo Guthrie." Heh.
The Concord Monitor is unimpressed with the meta-pun that today’s event represents:
[N]o one would have mistaken these two policy wonks for the jokesters of the New Hampshire presidential primary.
Nonetheless, nearly six months after the local vote, Obama and Clinton return today, going to extreme lengths for a corny gag.
They’re coming to Unity, N.H. - get it? Unity? It’s a place where they
split the local Democratic vote, 107-107. It’s a place so far out in
the boondocks that voters and reporters will require shuttle buses from
Sunapee, for Pete’s sake.
More local coverage can be found here and here. And a reporter for the Portsmouth Herald will apparently be blogging about the event here. Also, Hotline reports that local officials in Unity were caught off guard by the initial plans for this event.
Incidentally, Unity’s odd name is explained by a historical blurb on the New Hampshire state government’s website:
This territory was first chartered in 1753, and named Buckingham, after
John Hobart, first Earl of Buckinghamshire. Grants of this area had
been given by both the early Massachusetts government and by Governor
Benning Wentworth, causing dispute among those looking to claim the
land. The town was incorporated as Unity in 1764 when the grant terms
provided a friendly resolution to the dispute. In the charter document,
the grantees were allowed to come to mutual agreement the size of each
tract, when usually the tracts were to be divided into equal shares for
all those named in the grant.
Ah, the Great Buckingham Compromise of 1753. John McCain remembers it well. ;)
The Clinton-Obama unity — er, Unity — event is likely to begin
around 1:00 PM EDT. It comes one day after the candidates met behind
closed doors in front of Clinton’s major fundraisers,
and Obama "received a standing ovation from the crowd of more than 200
when he said he would enlist his supporters to help pay off her debt."
Obama also announced that he and Michelle are personally donating the
legal maximum — $2,300 — to Hillary’s effort. (Hillary has said that
she will not use donated money to pay off her campaign’s $11
million debt to her own personal bank account. She will only seek to
repay outside vendors.)
P.S. *If you were wondering, Edwards got 78 votes in Unity, while Richardson got 15, Kucinich 2, Biden 1, Gravel 1, and Kenneth Capalbo 1. On the GOP side,
it was McCain 81, Romney 70, Paul 21, Giuliani 20, Hunter 2, Thompson
1. (Hey, that would have been a pretty good-sounding GOP ticket. Hunter-Thompson ‘08! Heh.)
Also, the Democratic results show a handful of GOP votes, and the
GOP results show a handful of Democratic votes, apparently due to
write-ins. On the Democratic side, there were 2 votes for Paul and 1
for McCain in Unity; on the Republican side, there were 2 votes for
Richardson and 1 each for Clinton and Obama. Phew — the "tied in
Unity" meme remains intact! But it was 108-108, not 107-107, if you count the massive GOP crossover vote!! ;)
All told, there were 208 votes in the Democratic primary (205 of
them for actual Democratic candidates), and 199 votes in the GOP
primary (195 of them for Republicans), for a whopping combined turnout
of 407 people.