PORTSMOUTH — "Woooow," said Emily Montplaisir as she stood at the edge of the Seacoast Media Group press room. "I'm definitely starstruck."
The Portsmouth High School senior had just had her photo taken with Sen. Hillary Clinton as the presidential candidate made her way out of the public forum.
Clinton had heard that Montplaisir, who plans to register to vote when she turns 18 on Dec. 6, will cast her first vote in the 2008 New Hampshire Primary.
"I would be honored to have your first vote," Clinton told the young woman.
Montplaisir was one of many who were captivated, charmed, ecstatic, pleasantly surprised, or outright thrilled with Clinton on Tuesday.
When he arrived at the event, David Hendrix of Portsmouth said, he was undecided on a candidate for president.
By the time he left, Hendrix was a convert to the Clinton camp.
"I've been politically ambivalent for a long time," said Hendrix. "I think she's got a certain amount of blue sky going on. She's a straight shooter."
"Ditto," said Robert Sevigny, of Portsmouth. "She's ready to take on the oil industry," he added with apparent joy.
Joanne Lamprey, owner of Lamprey Brothers Inc., a North Hampton-based oil company, said she hopes Clinton can curb oil consumption.
Lamprey, who officially signed up as a Clinton supporter at the end of Tuesday's forum, said she does not think decreased oil consumption is a problem for her company.
The answer, she said, is more customers who burn less oil.
Lamprey lauded Clinton's "enthusiasm ...; optimism ...; (and) leadership ability."
"I think it's time we had a woman president," she said.
Barbara Hayes of Portsmouth caught the attention of the crowd when, in the environmental forum, she asked the senator to look out for Tricare —— private medical care for veterans and their families.
She had given her question a good deal of thought, said Hayes, whose late husband fought in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.
"I thought, 'How can I connect (my question) to the weather and to the environment?'"
She didn't, but Clinton tied it in for her, and Hayes was delighted.
"I think she listened to me today and she's on the Armed Services Committee and she will keep her eye on Tricare," she said. "I've had a (Clinton) bumper sticker for four months."
Susan O'Hara of Eliot, Maine, said she was happy to see Clinton in person.
"I wanted to make sure that Hillary wasn't all media," she said. "I needed to see her in person."
O'Hara said she's glad she did. "She's dynamic, intelligent and she's going to be our next president," she said.
"Her enthusiasm made me commit to some volunteering," she added. "So watch out, neighbors!"