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Tales From the Trail: Singing and Brewing for Votes

Want to know what the NBC News Embeds saw? Follow their daily journey to the inside of the 2016 presidential campaign here:

It's five o'clock somewhere...

HENNIKER, N.H. - Having a sip of a drink before noon might not be your average sight on the 2016 campaign trail.

But in the middle of a multi-day swing through New Hampshire, John Kasich enjoyed a taste of a new beer while speaking to patrons and taking a tour at the Henniker Brewing Company.

Kasich took a swig of their "Miles & Miles" beer and joined in the brewing process. "Makin' beer here today," he said while combing through spent grain.

He then turned to the small crowd of reporters and workers gathered. "It'll keep you hoppin! Get it? How about this? You know, that beer was really good. I liked it."

Kasich's beer was named in a tribute to New Hampshire's own astronaut, Alan Shepard, a native of Derry, who hit a golf ball on a trip to the moon, joking it went "miles and miles and miles." Remarking on the wonder of people like Shepard and other American astronauts stepping foot on the moon, Kasich said, "Unbelievable. I met Pete Conrad, who actually was on the moon and it's so amazing because they are understated people…They want to be invisible, they are humble, they are great."

-- Kailani Koenig covering the New Hampshire primary

Sing us a song, you're the candidate

Coralville, IA— "Sing a song!" an audience member yelled out during a meet-and-greet with Sen. Marco Rubio.

"Yes, that's what I was about to do, I feel like Dean Martin or Sinatra or something," Rubio responded with a smile.

While this was an interruption in the Florida senator's stump speech, it wasn't because of a heckler or protestor. The lights in the hotel ballroom room went off, leaving only the few spotlights on the candidate— resembling the set of a stand-up comic.

"More light, please," Rubio called out, leading to some looks around the room as folks tried to fix the issue. The house lights came back on, briefly, before turning off again.

"So what song would you like?" Rubio joked.

Moments like these happen all the time on the trail— and are ones that allow voters to connect with the candidates on a level beyond issue or policy. Whether it's the faulty microphone system that led Donald Trump to demand that his staff not pay for the audio system (to cheers and much applause), or the lights going out in this room, these are moments that voters watch closely because it shows candidates' personalities.

While not necessarily newsworthy, they are special because voters get an opportunity to not only see if they agree with the candidate, but to also— and sometimes more importantly— see if they actually like the person.

-- Shaquille Brewster following the Rubio campaign

What's the square root of two positions on one issue?

Sanbornville, N.H. -- Marco Rubio's campaign carried out some advanced trolling at a Ted Cruz event here Tuesday afternoon.

Those attending the event were greeted with calculators and a double-sided paper filled with a laundry list of supposed "flip flops" by Cruz. Paid for by Marco Rubio for President.

Flip flop subject lines included:

  • Legal Immigration
  • H-1B Visas
  • Birthright Citizenship
  • Mass Deportation
  • Syria
  • Edward Snowden
  • Trade
  • Ethanol & Billions for Crop Insurance Program

-- Vaughn Hillyard covering the Cruz campaign

Trump's endorsement before the endorsement?

WINTERSET, Iowa - Donald Trump's event here Tuesday had everything voters have come to expect from the bombastic frontrunner: press bashing, a (semi) celebrity endorsement and the words "you're fired."

With less than two weeks to go until the Iowa caucuses, Trump is making headlines in the state today with an impending "special announcement" in Ames. (When asked if it was Sarah Palin, Trump said he was a big fan of hers but didn't want to reveal who it was.)

At the John Wayne Birthplace Museum, however, it was the endorsement of Wayne's daughter Aissa that really impressed some of his supporters.

Cheryl Bales, a 68-year-old museum employee who loves all things Wayne, said she likes Trump because he represents change. She's concerned a Hillary Clinton presidency would only be "more of the same."

"Are we going backwards instead of forwards?" she wondered, though she did acknowledge she wanted to see a female president in her lifetime.

Another Trump supporter, who didn't want to be named, put the reason for backing him very simply: "He tells the truth. No one else does."

The event, which was originally supposed to be held outside, was moved indoors after it started snowing.

A life-size John Wayne figure, gun drawn and cowboy hat firmly in place, stood behind Trump as he spoke.

If Wayne were still around, his daughter said, "He'd be standing right here instead of me."

-- Monica Alba, who normally covers the Clinton campaign, attended her first Trump event today

Jeb Bush Needs More 'Stinking' Time

HOLLIS, N.H. — It's a Snapchat world, but Jeb Bush won't be forced to embrace it, according to his telling of a recent Snapchat question and answer session last week.

"Someone told me here's a list of questions I want you to answer on Snapchat," he said. "Snapchat is nine seconds. What's your tax plan? Come on dude, how am I supposed to tell what I just described to you in nine stinking seconds?"

Bush's communications director asserted via Twitter that the governor operates under a slightly different time constraint.

But Bush had a solution all his own: "I said go to Jeb2016.com to find out about my tax plan," fitting in his pitch well under the Snapchat limit.

-- Jordan Frasier covering the Bush campaign