Opening Act: Dixville

Hart’s Location official election time-keeper Ron Rager (L) carefully watches the seconds tick away until midnight at a polling station on November 3, 2008 so residents may cast their ballots in the US presidential election in Hart’s Location, the smallest town in the northeastern state of New Hampshire. Residents of two tiny towns in New Hampshire symbolically kicked off voting in the US presidential election on Tuesday, November 4, 2008, casting ballots just after midnight. Hart’s Location switched from its pro-Republican record to back a Democrat: Barack Obama won 17 votes there to 10 for his Republican rival John McCain, a simple trailer with a US flag hanging outside. Dixville Notch voted 15-6 in favor of Obama, who was leading in national polls, against McCain, CNN reported. It was the first time the location voted for a Democrat since 1968, the network said. With just 42 residents, Hart’s Location claims the spotlight every four years, when it casts the first ballots for the presidency. The practice began in earnest in 1948, when town residents chose to vote at the stroke of midnight so that railroad employees could report to work on time in the morning. AFP PHOTO / Jesse Baker (Photo credit should read Jesse Baker/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo by Jesse Baker/AFP/Getty Images

BOW, N.H. – If all goes as planned today, I’ll be visiting polling places to really, really understand what New Hampshire voters are about to force upon us. The only data we have so far are votes from Dixville Notch and Hart’s Location. The totals:

Mitt Romney - 7
Ron Paul - 5
Jon Huntsman - 4
Newt Gingrich - 2
Rick Perry - 1

That’s 37 percent of the vote for Romney. Gun to my head, that’s where I’d guess he ends up today.

- A question from Wayne Slater: Whither the Tea Party?

Ken Eyring, a tea party activist whose group has heard from Gingrich and Santorum, introduced Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul as a surrogate for his father at a town hall meeting last week. Eyring says Ron Paul’s proposals to abolish the Department of Education and audit the Federal Reserve are now issues that other GOP candidates have taken up.

“To me, that’s a success story,” said Eyring. “That’s what’s important to us, that the issues are brought forth and people are talking about these things. Politicians for decades have been talking about fixing the symptoms. Dr. Paul is talking about fixing the disease.”

- Jon Vaught LaBeaume asks Santorum if he’d still oppose NAFTA, as he did in 1993. Yep.

- Hohmann and Mahthesian on Ron Paul’s campaign of gloom and worry.

- Drezner on why countries are not corporations.