Episode 1: The Guardian
For the last four decades, hundreds of the most powerful people in American politics — senators, governors, even a reality TV star — have had to meet one unassuming state bureaucrat on their way to the White House.
This man has built a reputation as "the guardian" of New Hampshire’s most sacred political institution. Some consider him an icon. But others say he’s a problem.
Episode photos: (Click and hover for captions)
Video: Then-Democratic presidential candidate and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama bows (literally) to New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner. (As captured by the Associated Press.)