Friday, November 30, 2007

Man Takes Hostages at Clinton Campaign Office in N.H.

A man reportedly with a bomb took hostages inside the Rochester, N.H., offices of U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton. WMUR in Manchester reported a man in his 40s entered the North Main Street office shortly after 1 p.m. The man, who is reportedly mentally ill, later released two women but it remains unclear as to whether more hostages remain inside the downtown Rochester office.

Local and state police remain engaged in a tense stand-off with the suspect. Clinton, who is not currently in New Hampshire, cancelled a speech at the Democratic National Committee's fall meeting in Virginia upon learning of the situation.

New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation presidential primary is Jan. 8 and candidates from both sides of the aisle have descended upon the Granite State en masse in the weeks until voters head to the polls. New Hampshire residents pride themselves on the retail politics which invade their state every four years. More than half a dozen candidates visited my alma mater Manchester Memorial High School ahead of the 2000 primary and I even volunteered for U.S. Sen. John McCain [R-Ariz.] in his downtown Manchester office.

This situation has undoubtedly rocked the Clinton campaign as they eagerly await a peaceful outcome. It also sends a collective chill throughout those in New Hampshire on both sides of the aisle who devote their time and energy to the success of a grassroots-based tradition in the state. Current and former Granite Staters of all political persuasions currently await for this stand-off to come to a swift and peaceful conclusion.

Update [12:50 a.m.]: Police arrested Leeland Eisenberg of Somersworth shortly after 6 p.m. Friday as the last of his three hostages was escorted away from the office. Senator Hillary Clinton traveled to New Hampshire to meet with them and to thank local law enforcement officials for ending the stand-off peacefully.

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