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Days Before Primary, N.H. Restaurant Bans Presidential Candidates

Filed by KOSU News in Politics.
January 8, 2012

During this final sprint toward Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, candidate stops will be full of local diners and doughnut shops where the presidential hopefuls can chat up “real” voters — locals who stop in for a meal or a coffee.

But customers in one New Hampshire restaurant are over it. In response, a Portsmouth breakfast spot has banned candidates completely, reports Seacoast Online:

“‘No Politicians No Exceptions’ reads the sign taped to the entrance of Colby’s Breakfast & Lunch, a popular eatery on Daniel Street.

Employee Jessica Labrie, who made the sign and [posted] it on the outer door of the restaurant, said she posted it Tuesday in response to several complaints from customers.”

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer have stopped in during numerous meals since summer.

The small business’ bottom line apparently drove the decision. The lunch spot can seat only 28 customers, and restaurant owner Jeremy Colby told SeacoastOnline it’s critical he can turn over those seats quickly.

“‘I also find it amusing that they talk about how the economy and small business is so important, yet they are OK with creating a disturbance that impacts my small business.’

‘I don’t appreciate Joe Blow coming in here and whoring around the dining room for votes,’ he said.”

One of Labrie’s most compelling stories focuses on a visit from Perry and Bachmann.

“She said the visit was marred by overbearing campaign staff members who requested to reserve one side of the small restaurant despite there being only 10 tables in the entire establishment.

‘They said, ‘Just so you know you’ll have the pleasure of waiting on Gov. Perry and (Congresswoman) Bachmann. Don’t be nervous. Just be yourself and you’ll be fine.”

Labrie said she responded with, ‘I don’t know if you really want me to be myself.’”

(With reporting from NPR’s StateImpact New Hampshire) [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

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