This story was written by Steve Bodnar & Kaitlyn Hennigan, The New Hampshire
Presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani wasn't eating pancakes in Durham, N.H., on Sunday afternoon, but he was offering his hand as he visited with the breakfast crowd at Young's Restaurant in a quick meet and greet stop on his way to Exeter.
The former mayor of New York City made small-talk with University of New Hampshire students and locals in a whirlwind of camera flashes and handshakes at Young's Restaurant and The Bagelry.
Giuliani's appearance came as a surprise to many of the restaurants' patrons, who nibbled their food amid clusters of interested onlookers.
"He looks a lot younger in person," said UNH senior Mike Alukonis.
Alukonis was eating breakfast with friends Sunday morning and was not aware that Giuliani would be stopping by. The group went back inside the restaurant after finishing their meal to shake hands with the candidate.
While some saw the appearance with sheer surprise, others looked at the campaign stop as a perfect opportunity for Giuliani to make a solid impression on voters outside of the typical speech.
"People are able to ask the tough questions over their waffles and pancakes instead of in front of a crowd of thousands," said Bill Hunt, the UNH chapter president of the New Hampshire College Republicans.
Hunt, who stood in front of Young's while he waited for Giuliani's arrival, emphasized that even a brief stop can be critical for a candidate when on the campaign trail in the Primary State.
"I think every stop is important," said Hunt. "I think it shows that he's [Giuliani] able to play to a larger crowd, instead of just the Republican safe places in New Hampshire . Because the seacoast is known to be a liberal area, it shows that he can draw people in - not just from the far right."
Sophomore Matt Mills heard that Giuliani was going to be in Durham, so he decided to go to Young's for breakfast and a chance to spot the candidate.
"I've gone to a bunch of these things," Mills said. "I'm undecided."
Mills said he plans on voting in the next presidential election, but is unsure of who will win his vote. After briefly shaking hands with Giuliani and seeing him in Young's, Mills said he would go and see Giuliani speak.
"Everyone always has this idea that college people don't vote and aren't involved in politics, so it's very important that he [Giuliani] gets out there and encourages them," said sophomore Melanie Gray inside Young's as she looked at a small crowd gathered around Giuliani.
Giuliani's meet and greet appearance was one of his three campaign stops in New Hampshire on Sunday. The others included an event in Portsmouth and a town-hall meeting in Exeter.
According to the New Hampshire Presidential Watch blog, a website that tracks the activities of all presidential candidates in New Hampshire, Giuliani has visited New Hampshire 14 times in 2007.
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© 2007 The New Hampshire via U-WIRE
AP Photo/Kazuhiro Nogi - Pool