And with CNN’s John King pointing to the last precinct on the map to report votes, Tuesday’s First In The Nation Primary was officially over and the circus of media and campaigners began exiting New Hampshire, with me, The Political Tourist, along with them.

Heading south on Interstate 93, just hours ahead of a new Artic cold front, I find myself revisiting the past weeks and trying to distill a myriad of thoughts and impressions into a cohesive story; one that will answer the five Ws: what, who, where, when and, most importantly, why? The first four are easy, as Joe Friday would say, “Just the facts, ma’am.” It’s the Why, that is a bit of a challenge, so let’s start with the facts.

Where? New Hampshire

When? January 23 – February 9, 2016

What? A visit with candidates before The First In The Nation Primary for the President of the United States

Who? Nine candidates– Secretary Clinton, Senators Sanders, Cruz and Rubio, Governors Bush, Christie and Kasich, CEOs Fiorina and Trump.
That leaves Why? “In one coherent sentence, if you please, Kathleen…ok?”

Whew! Here goes…

Because, like that stoic Sergeant Detective Friday on Dragnet, I just wanted the facts…clear, unspun, checkable facts about the people applying for, what I believe is and should be, the most important job in the world.

And did I get my ‘facts’?
Well, of course not. I’m not really so naïve to think that by the mere virtue of shaking Chris Christie’s hand that I would somehow be granted singular insight into Bridgegate; or that looking into the steely gaze of John Kasich would miraculously lay bare (to me alone) his plans for Supreme Court nominees.

What I did get however, was a sense of these nine individuals…a first impression as it were, without the filter and spin of media. With each event I attended, I tried to leave my baggage at the door. I imagined myself an alien (illegal of course) dropped into the scene without the benefit of previous knowledge. A near impossible task, but I feel I did pretty well overall, and in doing so, I feel I have a few more tools to help me make a more informed decision in November.