CNN's Bill Schneider witnessed New Hampshire hospitality - and politics - up close Tuesday.
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) - On the way to St. Anselm's College Tuesday morning, the site of tonight's GOP presidential debate, a car full of CNN staff stopped at the Manchester 7-11 so I could buy a New York Times (two new books about Hillary Clinton are reviewed today).
The 7-11 clerk informed me that the store had just sold its last copy, whereupon a gentleman turned around, greeted me and said, "Here, take mine."
The gentleman, whom I recognized, was former United States Senator John Durkin, D-New Hampshire. He served in the Senate from 1975-1980, and I once interviewed him for an Atlantic Monthly article back in 1987.
I offered to pay Sen. Durkin for the newspaper, but he insisted I take it for free.
"New Hampshire hospitality," Durkin said.
On the way out, I asked Durkin if he was supporting any of the candidates for president.
"Not yet," Durkin said, adding that he did not think any of the contenders stood out in Sunday evening's debate.
He noted that Sen. Hillary Clinton offered a new explanation for her 2002 vote authorizing the use force in Iraq. "This time it was about the weapons inspectors," Durkin said, adding, "No one seems to have picked up on that."
- CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider