U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was one of many 2016 presidential candidates to participate in the “Dinosaur Primary,” my ambitious quest to photograph the next President of the United States with my favorite childhood cartoon. Sadly, Sen. Rubio did not recognize Dino Flintstone.
After reading today’s “Dinosaur Primary” photo essay in The Atlantic, longtime friends will immediately recognize a pattern.
During the 2012 New Hampshire Primary, I chronicled my then 9-year-old son’s “Superhero Primary.” He asked all the candidates if they could be any superhero in the world, which one would they be and why.
During the 2012 Superhero Primary, Ari Garnick discussed the perils of kryptonite and the 9-9-9 economic plan with Republican Herman Cain.
During the 2008 New Hampshire Primary, I photographed my then 5-month-old daughter with candidates for the “Baby Primary.” Many people commented that they could tell a lot about each White House hopeful’s personality by how they held a baby.
Hillary Clinton participates in Dahlia Garnick’s 2008 “Baby Primary.”
So why have I abandoned my kids in favor of a lifeless stuffed animal this time around? Simple. I still try to broaden my kids’ horizons with new experiences – but Dino is far more patient when it comes to listening to speeches about social security reform.
And as you can see from the above mix of pics (remember Herman Cain?!), these photo projects are all bipartisan and apolitical.
The Red Arrow Diner in Manchester, NH, is one of the most popular stops for presidential candidates during the New Hampshire Primary.
My fascination with the New Hampshire Primary began 24 years ago after chasing Vice President Dan Quayle around the Food Court at the Pheasant Lane Mall.
Six primaries later, I’ve been trailing presidential candidates around more upscale restaurants and diners (classier than the Food Court) for New Hampshire Magazine.
Here’s a fascinating tidbit that didn’t make the final edit.
The Red Arrow Diner, a popular haunt of local celebs like Adam Sandler and Sarah Silverman, honors its most famous customers with commemorative plaques screwed to the booths and countertops. You can plop your rear end on the same barstool as the Bare Naked Ladies or Rudy Giuliani!
But now, fans of former Democratic Vice Presidential nominee John Edwards no longer have a shrine to worship. When the Red Arrow ripped up its countertops during its fall 2015 renovations, the Edwards plaque mysteriously disappeared.
Might it have something to do with Edwards cheating on his wife Elizabeth while she had cancer and then illegally using political donations to pay off his mistress?
I bet all the “Bill Cosby Sat Here” plaques around the country are also disappearing. Continue reading
In 1996, longshot presidential candidate Caroline Killeen mocked President Bill Clinton for saying he once tried marijuana, but didn’t breathe in the smoke.
It’s been 20 years (!) since filmmaker Al Ward and I met Caroline Killeen, a.k.a. the “Hemp Lady,” at her presidential campaign headquarters – a homeless shelter in Manchester, NH. Following the lonely ex-nun through the slushy streets on the day before Christmas, we shot the first scenes of our first documentary, “Why Can’t I Be President?”
I celebrate Killeen’s legacy – and reveal what happened to her – in today’s Boston Globe, as part of their fantastic “Primary Memories” series.
Produced for PBS stations, “Why Can’t I Be President?” highlighted the quirkiest feature of the New Hampshire Primary – that ANY American (age 35 and up) who pays $1,000 can run for President.
In most other states, who gets on the ballot is determined by the political parties, the Secretary of State or by gathering tens of thousands of signatures of registered voters (which requires a huge organization and lots of money.) In New Hampshire, the dream is yours – a permanent place in history – for a thousand bucks.
Some “fringe” candidates, like the Hemp Lady, devote their candidacy (and resulting media attention) to a serious cause. Some use their candidacy as a resume line to sell books and get higher rates on the speaking circuit. And some are just simply crazy, like your local Town Meeting crank – but with a much bigger megaphone.
It’s fascinating to consider how the term “fringe” has evolved since then. Continue reading
Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush named Supergirl as his favorite superhero at a campaign appearance last week, telling his audience that actress Melissa Benoist “looked pretty hot.”
During the 2012 New Hampshire Primary, I guided my then 9-year-old son on the campaign trail as he asked the candidates about their favorite superhero and why.
Bush’s predecessors were a lot more careful with their answers. Take a look:
I know his campaign ended badly, but Herman Cain’s Kryptonite answer and the warmth of his response still makes me smile. (You can read my original analysis of our Superhero Primary at The Atlantic.)
In any case, Ari and I are also looking forward to watching Supergirl, which was created by the same producers as “The Flash,” our can’t-miss-show-of-the-moment!
Hey, Donald Trump, want to win the New Hampshire Primary?
For starters, don’t piss off Aerosmith.
Lake Sunapee’s Steven Tyler and his lawyers asked you nicely to stop playing “Dream On” at your rallies, and you said you found a “better song.”
So what’s the better song?
At your Oct. 16 rally at Tyngsborough Elementary School (so close to NH, we’re claiming it as our own, like the Pheasant Lane Mall), you played “Dream On” multiple times on your mixed tape. I also heard “You’re the Best Around” from the Karate Kid soundtrack.
You know who played that before? Newt Gingrich at his 2012 fifth place New Hampshire Primary victory party. It’s bad karma.
Steven Tyler warned you. Pick another song.
Steven Tyler: Stop Dreaming On. (Courtesy of Ilya Mirman Photography)
Breaking news! The DAR has now extended full membership privileges to Sons of the Russian Shtetl.
Remember, you saw it here first.
Caught Jeb Bush, without any entourage, chilling out with Uncle Sam an hour before my hometown’s 4th of July parade.
July 4, 2015
· 2:09 pm.07.
Is it time to commission another Ego Study of the U.S. Senate? Our clipboards are ready.
Congratulations on your new State Department gig, Senator Kerry. Can’t wait to see your new office…
So right before the 2010 midterm elections, photographer Ilya Mirman and I embarked on an unprecedented visual data analysis project attempting to rank political egos in the U.S. Senate. The Vanity Index algorithm was based on how many times a Senator displayed a picture of him or herself on their wall and how many celebrities were in those pictures — offset by how many times the Senators promoted their home states.
It wasn’t even close. U.S. Sen. John Kerry, the keynote speaker at my University of Massachusetts graduation (oh, and the 2004 Democratic nominee for President), ran away with the contest as you can see below.
There’s still some white space on Sen. John Kerry’s office wall — still some future photo-ops to brag about.
He was the Mr. Incredible of the U.S. Senate, a title that his spokesperson shrewdly embraced. And now that he’ll be meeting world leaders 2-3 times a week, he’s gonna need A LOT MORE wall space.
Mr. Incredible: The Original John Kerry. (Double click for more details).
So check out the original Vanity Index — and let Ilya and me know if you’d like an Ego Study conducted at your company or organization.
Even if you know WHO this president is, odds are that you have no idea WHAT he accomplished. According to most historians, not much.
Quick: Name the U.S. president immortalized in plastic above.
Baffled? Of course you are.
Being turned into a PEZ dispenser may be the greatest thing that ever happened to this 1800s-era Commander-in-Chief.
I explore why with Brady Carlson at NHPR’s “All Things Considered” and in the upcoming February issue of New Hampshire Magazine. Brady deftly steered the conversation where all meaningful conversations ultimately go: To the 1970s Saturday Morning classic cartoon, “The Super Friends.”
And that may tap me out for comprehensive coverage of Presidential PEZ. If you’re as smitten by the topic as I am, check out the candy company’s plans to conquer elementary school minds (The Atlantic), and why Barack Obama will have to wait for his moment of sugarcoated glory (The Hill).
2012 GOP Presidential Candidates Channel the 1966 Batman Villains — a masterpiece by artist Jon Stich (Click here to see more of Jon’s work)
This Jon Stich original painting is selling for $700 and it would be living over my mantle tomorrow if I had that kind of disposable income. Personally, I think the artwork is worth at least 10 times that. Look at the perfect match-ups between Batman’s mortal enemies and Barack Obama’s top archnemesises (what is the plural of “archnemesis?”)
In an interview for The Hill, D.C.’s Congressional newspaper, Stich told me he assigned the 1966 Batman villains Republican alter-egos based on facial characteristics and not personalities. He said he would have given the same treatment to Democrats if this had been an election year for them.
This masterpiece is the top pick in my 2012 Political Gift Guide, which you can read below. Limited edition prints are far more affordable at $15 a pop. Check out the rest of your wondrous Christmas and Chanukah options here:
The 2012 Political Gag Gift Guide — Part One (Double click to enlarge)
The 2012 Political Gag Gift Guide — Part Two (Double click to enlarge)
Inspired to do some shopping? The links to buy are below. Please note that I am not affiliated with any of these companies and share their kitschiness only out of a pure love for the genre.
WHERE TO BUY (Double Click for Instant Gratification)
1. Gotham City GOP Painting
2. Republican Lady Fashion Dolls
3. Barack Obama Meathead Mosaic
4. Political Puppet Hecklers
5. Wall Street Victim Figurines
6. PEZidents – Presidential PEZ Dispensers
7. Joe Biden Laser-Etched Earrings
8. Pooping Commander-in-Chief