At 90, matriarch still getting out the NH vote

Posted at 8:40 AM, Feb 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-08 08:40:41-05

To talk politics in the parlor of 90 year old Ruth Griffin is to join the company of past presidents like George W. Bush and his father.

"Oh the Bushes, all of them, even Neal came here when he was campaigning for his father," said Griffin with her rich New Hampshire accent.

"I always have them come in the parlor because that's where all the important functions are in these old Yankee Houses."

There's the story of the crowd that formed outside of her home when Bob Dole called on her. If you're a Republican and you want to run for president you best make a trip to the sea coast town of Portsmouth and talk to Ruth a longtime New Hampshire Republican leader.

"There was a piano there," Griffin said pointing to a corner of her parlor. "Lamar Alexander came in and he played the Tennessee Waltz, we all stood around and sang the Tennessee Waltz."

Griffin's passion for politics and the GOP she inherited from her father.

"Very, very political, very outspoken hated Franklin Roosevelt hated him. I remember when Hoover lost to him and oh that was, you could have hung a black flag out in front of the house he was wild."

I first met Ruth in July at a Kasich town hall in Portsmouth as he, like so many in the field, was seeking her support. At the time there were still a few candidates she had to talk with before she made her decision, which to the Kasich team's delight was the Ohio governor.

"It brought us a lot of credibility when she signed on," said Kasich Senior Strategist John Weaver citing her long ties especially to the Bush family. "She was George W. Bush's state chair."

"She's the grande dame of the Republican Party here so she brought us great credibility and even at 90 she brought us a lot of energy," Weaver said.

Ruth shares that energy along with her support for Kasich with everyone she can including her church friends.

"They got long tongues and they talk and they talk and they talk and they're doing the same thing I am telling other people oh I went to see that John Kasich and it's just what Ruth said he's talking common sense," Griffin said.