I’d been in New Hampshire for the past several days to follow the
campaign and see some of the candidates in-person. Yesterday morning, I
was chatting up a Romney campaign staffer before an event at the
Gilchrist Manufacturing Company in Hudson, NH, when a police officer
approached. Sir, we have to ask you to leave the premises.
“Sir, is this about my backpack? I’d be happy to show you – there’s nothing dangerous in there.”
“No, sir – we’ll explain it to you outside.”
I gathered my things and walked past a group of citizens and press, humiliated and confused.
Outside, the officer said, “Sir, the campaign has identified you as someone who was at a protest at Romney’s office in Manchester.”
Now I was really confused. Protest? I didn’t even know there had been protests at Romney’s headquarters, and if there had been, I certainly hadn’t been at them. (Later, after I got out of jail, I looked on the web; I still haven’t found any news stories about protests at Romney’s offices here, though Occupy protesters have attended several of his events.)
I explained to the officer – his name was Lamarche, and his partner’s
was Ducie – that there must have been some misunderstanding. Could I
speak to someone from the campaign to clear this up? No. I’d have to leave immediately.
I asked about his authority to remove me. “We’re working for the Romney campaign,” he said. I asked if he was on-duty; he said he was. My confusion deepened. So was he working for the town of Hudson today, or for the campaign? “Both.” (Later, I think I got it straight: the campaign hired the police for the day, sort of like a private security detail.)