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I'm pretty surprised by his minor surge in New Hampshire, which has doubled his support to 12 percent--just one point behind John Edwards. I actually attended a Richardson event in Manchester yesterday, but found it so dull and inert that I didn't bother to write anything. My main impression from the American Legion post appearance--which featured a speech calling for various benefits and tax breaks for veterans--was Richardson's characteristic knack for little gaffes. Like when he declared it time for American to "re-join NATO" and said that, in cases when diplomacy fails, "you use pre-emption." In each case he quickly corrected himself, noting that the U.S. still belongs to NATO and that he meant more diplomacy, "not pre-emption." Whatever. The guy just doesn't seem ready for prime time to me.

That said, I spoke to a Richardson supporter in the (sparse) crowd who struck me as an unusually thoughtful guy. He said he finds Richardson more authentic and sincere than the other candidates and would be willing to vote for him if he demonstrates an ability to win. For now, though, the man is with Hillary.

Update: Or maybe no surge. Mark "Mystery Pollster" Blumenthal calls my attention to a series of recent UNH polls which suggest Richardson's been fairly steady. Commenter joebeek2 is also skeptical. I ain't arguing. (But it probably is time to stop using the word "surge" so promiscuously.)

--Michael Crowley