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Axes, Pancakes And Big Rigs ... Oh My!

Weekly commentary by CBS Evening News chief Washington correspondent and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer, filed this week from the campus of Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire.

Here we are back in New Hampshire – sooner than ever but not too soon.

The way these other states keep moving their primaries up, New Hampshire may have to hold this year's contest before Christmas if it wants to be first.

Whenever it happens, what I love about New Hampshire is the wackiness it always brings out.

Like back in '84 when Democrat Gary Hart showed that he could throw an axe better than anyone.

Now, there's a skill that every president needs.

Then there was George Bush's dad in '88. Someone accused him of being a prissy-sort of a wimp so he countered with a strategy of driving things with big wheels: fork lifts, snow plows, tractors. He even got aboard an 18 wheeler and gave the horn a big toot. It worked better: images through heavy machinery.
And then there was the greatest unintended sight gag in the history of politics when Republican candidate Gary Bauer entered the pancake flipping contest. He flipped his pancake high into the air ... and then ... and then ... he fell right off the stage.

Bauer also dropped off the political map after that, but, except for his feelings, he wasn't hurt.

Yes, I've said it a thousand times, these campaigns start too early and they cost too much. But when you think about all the stuff that has happened here, you gotta love New Hampshire.

E-mail Face the Nation.

By Bob Schieffer
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