I think I felt an earthquake for the first time today. I was sitting on the balcony of my hotel room having lunch when, out of nowhere, the salt shaker started, well, shaking. It was a short experience but a good one, nonetheless. Welcome to California.
We paid a quick visit to the legendary Grammy style booths this afternoon. Basically, it was a big warehouse shop of trendy clothes and accessories but without any cash registers. It was an all-white room where the booths were all set up around Heineken bar in the centre of the room. From Karl Lagerfeld to Vivienne Westwood; Hugo Boss; Royal Elastic; Will.I.Am's new clothing line, i.am; Bono's charity line, Edun; Stetson hats; Gibson guitars; Pink, the British shirts and tie shop; Calvin Klein ... even MTV's own Rock Band was represented. Items — which were given away for free, for product-placement purposes — ranged from a pair of K-Swiss trainers to $4,000 mink-fur Fendi sunglasses. I passed on those ones. They were being reserved for Mary J. Blige anyway.
We rolled into Los Angeles in style this morning for one of the biggest dates in the music calendar — possibly THE biggest date: the Grammys. But this year, it's not just any regular Grammys ... it's the 50th anniversary of the awards, and on Sunday L.A. will see the biggest and best names from the world of music come together at the Staples Center for a night of pure, unadulterated entertainment.
Only two weeks ago, the future of this year's Grammys wasn't looking too bright. The writers' strike was in full effect, and after the Golden Globes were canceled as a result, many wondered if the Grammys were next. Thankfully, though, the strike can mess with the world of movies but NOT with the world of music. The awards are definitely happening, and with organisers hinting at a number of surprise performances from some very big names, this year is gearing up to be one of the best award shows in history. After all, it is the 50th anniversary!
Back in the U.K., the names David Beckham, Thierry Henry and Wayne Rooney are household names known by every man, woman and child from London to Edinburgh. But out here, those names — perhaps with the exception of Becks — are pretty much unknown to the majority of the United States. They're footballers, by the way ... no, not NFL players ... English football ... I'll say it, but only this once ... soccer. Instead, names like Tom Brady, Alex Rodriguez and T.O. are the big shots out here. When I first got here, one of the first things I did was go to a baseball game ... and I was pretty much hooked. I started getting into American football, basketball and baseball pretty quick, and for a while, I've been waiting for a day that all the hours I've spent watching ESPN would finally pay off.
Well, they finally did, when I met one of America's best sportsmen of all time: Derek Jeter.
"Are my MTV boys still with me?" Senator Hillary Clinton asked as she exited the auditorium where, moments earlier, she'd delivered one of the finest speeches of her career after winning the New Hampshire primary. And yes, we were!
Just before, as Hillary made the rounds, warmly thanking her supporters, I thought it would be a good time to say thank you to her daughter, Chelsea, for making our exclusive interview with her mother happen earlier in the day. Chelsea, who has rarely been more than a few steps away from her mother over recent weeks on this campaign, was doing what I had seen her doing earlier — making friends, taking photos, shaking hands and, most importantly, talking to young people, who had turned up to see her mother win the primary. Now, after what Chelsea had done for us, I must admit I felt a little cheeky asking if her mom would like to talk to us again. But I figured there was no harm in asking — and again, the lovely Chelsea came through, for which we are very grateful.
They just called it! Many thought it wouldn't happen, but it did: Hillary Clinton has won the New Hampshire Democratic primary.
The atmosphere here at the Hillary Clinton HQ in Manchester has gone from calm, quiet confidence to total elation, with hugs, smiles and high-fives all around the room. Not even those on the outskirts of the room are standing still. It is hysteria. People are literally jumping for joy. From where I am standing it is a sea of hands — hundreds of them all clapping to the chant of, "HILLARY, HILLARY, HILLARY!"
And then she appears, the face of a victor. Perfectly poised and with a big smile, her first gesture is that of thanks to the crowd. Both Chelsea and Bill take the stage briefly and both warmly embrace her. Then it is time for her victory speech.
The crowd quiets down immediately, everyone listening intently, hanging on her every word.
By 8:12 p.m., the roar of the crowd here at a John McCain event said it all: McCain is the winner of the New Hampshire primary — by a healthy margin. The room was packed with the two P's that accompany any election race — people and press — and both were in abundance. In the foyer, McCain organisers had laid out a spread of meat (yes, plain meat with no sides), sandwiches and, of course, a bar, which supporters were taking full advantage of well before the results came in. The atmosphere wasn't as electric as I had expected, but I will say there was an air of quiet confidence and cautious optimism.
There were very few young people at the party, and with the majority of those who turned up being over age 40, some might start to question the power of the youth vote. But don't! The game ain't over yet. Many had said that New Hampshire was McCain's state, since he won here back in 2000 — and I guess they were right.
At this moment in time, it's neck and neck between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, so the attention is turning to them. So right now, I'm leaving the McCain event in Nashua and driving to the Clinton event in Manchester, about an hour away. In the meantime, we've got another crew over at the Obama party.
Lots more to come as the race continues ...
It's a beautiful day here in New Hampshire. It's slightly warmer than yesterday, and the sun is out in the snow-covered state capital of Concord, where about a hundred people gathered to see Senator Hillary Clinton make an appearance at the local polling station, her last event before tonight.
The objective was clear: get an interview with potentially the next president of the United States. Easier said than done. With a mixed crowd of young and old calmly lining the road in anticipation of meeting her, it was the press who were behaving badly, pushing and shoving each other to get the perfect shot and perfect position.
At one point, everyone seemed happy with their position, but when the huge Clinton convoy (two buses and three SUVs) rolled through and the senator got out followed closely by her daughter, Chelsea, an organizer decided it was a good idea to ask the press to "take 15 steps forward." In press-talk this translates to: "Scramble to the front, show no mercy, and it's every news organization for itself." A local reporter who was standing next to me — an average-looking woman wearing a bucket-load of makeup — suddenly turned into a banshee, yelling at her cameraman while elbowing me and pushing my cameraman Aaron out of the way. It's all good, though. This isn't the first sticky situation Aaron and I have been in. Seeing that everyone was rushing blindly forward, we hung back for a second, quietly walked around the mob and sidestepped to the front. Perfect.
Presidential candidates are getting constant attention in Concord, New Hampshire, today — and that includes mealtime.
A restaurant called the Barley House created the Huckaburger — topped with spinach and a thick slice of tomato and served with a fried pickle on the side — in honor of Republican candidate Mike Huckabee agreeing to make an appearance there Monday morning.
Although the turnout wasn’t as strong as Bill Clinton’s and Obama’s previous events — with Clinton's drumming up support for his wife, Hillary, of course — just about every media outlet turned up, from German and Japanese reporters to homegrown talent like MSNBC's Chris Matthews, CBS' Bob Schieffer and CNN's Anderson Cooper (who, unfortunately, turned up just after Huckabee left and disappeared soon after, apparently uncomfortable with the attention he was getting). Read More...
It's 8 a.m. It's cold. I want to be in bed. But then I'd miss the opportunity to see Barack Obama give his first speech in New Hampshire ... and that's not going to happen.
By the time I arrived at the Palace Theatre in Manchester, there was already a line of about 200 people, with more arriving by the minute. As I walked down the line to see who had turned up, one thing was clear: Obama has major support here in New Hampshire and a lot of it is young first-time voters. Even though we're still early in the race, it's become pretty obvious that Obama has a formula that young people in particular can relate to. Whether it's his energy, his policies or even his young-ish age, it seems to be capturing the youth vote so far.
The turnout was a mix of undecided first-time voters and people who were full-fledged Obama supporters and proud of it. Parents had brought their kids, and some kids had even brought their parents. Students had traveled with their schools from Massachusetts, Indiana, New York and Florida as part of their courses, and some people just turned up alone, making new friends along the way. All of them were here to see the man that, at the moment, appears to be leading the presidential race. Barack Obama arrived, sharply dressed, about 20 minutes late, but the crowd didn't seem to mind. Read More...
BRENTWOOD, New Hampshire — "New Hampshire: Live Free or Die" was the sign that greeted us as we arrived here in the state early Saturday afternoon for the upcoming primary.
As soon as we arrived, it was clear that this chapter in the 2008 presidential race was already well underway. Lining the side of the road all the way into the city were what must have been hundreds of campaign posters planted in the snow, proudly bearing candidates’ names — and from what I saw, most of them were Barack Obama (who, of course, won the Iowa Democratic caucus last week) and Hillary Clinton.