“I think we should find ways to create satellite clinics locally so people don’t have to travel,” he said off the cuff, adding that vouchers could be provided to let veterans receive care at nearby hospitals. “We’d love to work with you in getting that done.” He then put the man in touch with one of his aides in the room to provide further details about the frustration of living in a state with limited access to key medical services.
After speaking to the man, Gingrich’s aides did some digging and found the problem of care for veterans is in fact a major issue in the state.
The very next day, Gingrich had already incorporated the hospital into his standard stump speech, complete with a plan to fix the problem.
“We are in development of a sophisticated medical center for veterans in the rural country that will be tied by tele-medicine to the best physicians in the world so that you can get care in the north country without having to drive to Boston,” Gingrich said at an forum in the mountains of northern New Hampshire Thursday afternoon. “It seems to be profoundly wrong to make our veterans go all the way to Boston to get care, and there are ways we can develop this.”
It was a hit. The crowd roared.
On one day, Gingrich didn’t even know that the problem existed; on the next, it was part of his presidential campaign platform.