Sunday, July 22, 2007

Romney Sunday Sundae Stop in New Hampshire

In the News

A candidate and a cone: Romney to make campaign stop at Kingston ice cream shop

By Margo Sullivan ,
Staff writerEagle-Tribune

KINGSTON, N.H. - At Memories Ice Cream, a hungry customer can find the list of flavors - butter crunch, cotton candy, or Maine blueberry hard yogurt - on a wood sign hanging on the farmhouse porch.On an average Sunday, 1,000 people come to the store for a scoop, a frappe or other concoction, according to owner Marc Brown. They can stay for a while, resting on a pink or purple painted picnic bench, and enjoy the picture-perfect scene, complete with hanging flower baskets spilling over with petunias on the porch and a weather-beaten barn and silo by the fields beyond.

But this Sunday, some of the regulars could find themselves biting into a waffle cone, cheek to cheek with Mitt Romney. The former Bay State governor is expected to step onto the white, wood porch around 3:30 tomorrow afternoon to shake hands with customers and employees.The Kingston stop is part of a busy schedule of campaign appearances, starting in Nashua with a luncheon and speech before the Republican City Committee. Romney will travel on to Salem for a house party and end the day with a Town Hall meeting in Exeter.Brown, who owns the Route 111 ice cream store with his wife, Patty, said the call from Romney's campaign manager came out of the blue.

He doesn't know how the decision was made to put his store on the political map, but he is a Republican and will vote for Romney in the primary - a decision he made before the candidate decided to stop at Memories."I don't know if they checked my voting record," Brown said. "But we think it's great. As a Republican, that makes it all the better." This could be the first time Memories has ever landed on a campaign itinerary.

Brown bought the store in 2003 and does not know if any candidates stopped there under the previous management.But he is no stranger to political heavyweights. He formerly ran Southside 815, rated one of the top 50 restaurants in Washington, D.C. Gen. Tommy Franks and diplomat Warren Christopher were among his patrons. Brown became used to getting calls from the Secret Service in advance of their arrival, he said.But Romney's visit is low-key, Brown said.

The candidate decided to stop at Memories because some campaign staffers said it would be a convenient spot for a so-called retail stop to mix with the public, according to Craig Stevens, Romney's New Hampshire communications director.

Romney campaign interns also are donning town crier costumes in Exeter today as part of the American Independence Festival. But any link between the old-fashioned New England atmosphere in Exeter and the ice-cream stand in Kingston is pure coincidence."I wish I were that clever," Stevens said with a laugh.

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