“I’m waiting for someone to shout ‘Bingo!'”

That’s how one journalist covering President Joe Biden’s visit to the Westwood Park YMCA in Nashua described the scene as a quiet crowd awaited an appearance by the leader of the free world.

It’s not a fair comment, of course.

Bingo is actually fun.

Fun was not in evidence in the hushed, half-filled hall of the Westwood Park Y on Tuesday. The crowd was subdued, almost funereal. Elevator music seeped softly out of the sound system, and people spoke in low tones around the room.

In the back of the room, where cynical reporters, tech crew, and political hacks hang out, someone snarked, “Maybe Biden died?”

“How could you tell,” came the reply.

Even more odd: The venue wasn’t full. An event starring the president of the United States, and the hand-picked attendees were scattered around the room like estranged cousins at a family reunion.

“Are they still practicing social distancing?” quipped state Rep. Keith Ammon (R-New Boston) on X.

When the program started and Biden shuffled toward the lectern, there was none of the excitement associated with a political candidate rousing his supporters. Biden spoke for just 12 minutes. He said nothing memorable or inspiring. The crowd clapped politely (though infrequently) and then it was over.

The point isn’t that Biden failed to meet the Trump standard for a public appearance, though he certainly did. There were more people lined up along the road outside the Y, waving Trump flags and chanting “Let’s Go, Brandon!” than listening to Biden speak.

Biden’s never going to compete with Trump as a political showman. When it comes to stage presence, Biden only has two speeds: Angry, and addled.

But he’s still the president. And when you’re the president of the United States, and you walk into a room, it’s supposed to matter.

Trump, Obama, Bush — did they ever give a speech on the stump to a crowd that looked like it was waiting to be pitched a time share in Florida?

Nothing about Biden’s New Hampshire visit made sense.

When the White House announced he was coming, the reaction in Granite State political circles was puzzlement. Why is Biden, who rarely treks outside the D.C.-Philly-Delaware triangle, schlepping up to the Granite State, with just four Electoral College votes and a nearly-perfect track record of backing Democrats for president?

When the word came that he was giving a speech celebrating the PACT Act — a law passed in 2022 making it easier for veterans exposed to toxic compounds to get VA health care — again people were puzzled. Sure, supporting veterans is great, but who is anti-veteran? How is this a hot political topic? What’s the point of differentiation with Trump?

Then came the NHJournal poll showing Biden tied with Trump in the state, and the motive for Biden’s visit appeared to become more clear. His team must be seeing similar polls and they’re coming up to lock this state down.

But wait — if Biden really is in danger of losing New Hampshire in November, how did his snoozefest of visit to Nashua help?

After Biden’s speech, he worked the small crowd, taking photos and donning his iconic aviator sunglasses. There was none of the celebrity buzz that big-time politicians usually inspire. Democratic operatives gossiped in corners. Karine Jean-Pierre was texting distractedly on her iPhone. Asked about the new poll showing Biden in trouble in New Hampshire, she said she couldn’t address something so overtly political and suggested Rep. Annie Kuster, who was standing nearby.

Kuster was a “no comment,” then quickly fled.

And so it went. No rallying cry from Biden urging patriots to embrace his cause. No “The only poll that matters is on Election Day!” No “New Hampshire is Biden Country.” Just political hacks dodging questions and looking for the nearest door.

“That was really bad, wasn’t it?” one confused reporter asked when it was all over. “What was the point?”

Many New Hampshire political professionals find it nearly impossible to believe that a Democrat could lose New Hampshire to Donald Trump.

But after half an hour with Biden and his fans in Nashua, and a Trump victory didn’t just seem possible. It seemed all but inevitable.