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Tired of Campaign ‘Manipulation’ N.H. Voters Get Trained in the Art of the Bird Dog

Birddoggers in action in Dover, NH. Photo by Jason Moon for NHPR

Birddoggers in action in Dover, NH. Photo by Jason Moon for NHPR

Presidential campaigns do all they can to make sure their events stay on message: candidates who pivot out of tough questions, campaign staff who keep a tight grip on the microphone while a voter is asking a question.

But now, more and more, voters are coming to campaign events with their own bag of tricks. With the help of advocacy groups around the state, they’re getting trained in an art known as birddogging.

The birddogging metaphor is borrowed from hunting. In it, voters stalk the fields of a campaign event, waiting for their moment. They get called on for a question. Or they manage to get close enough for a handshake with the candidate.

Then – they strike. They ask a question so specific and inescapable that the candidate’s true position on an issue is flushed out into the open.

That’s the idea anyways, but like any good hunter practice makes perfect.

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