It’s been a long time coming.

For months, Hillary Clinton’s surrogates in New Hampshire have been sitting — no, make that standing— on their hands while their candidate took one slap in the face after another from Obama and Edwards. And they did nothing to rise to her defense.

A year ago, when they first signed on to the campaign, they expected a joy ride on Hillary’s back from the Granite State right into the White House. It looked that way, too. They were on cruise control, dreaming of ambassadorships and White House appointments.

The two Shaheens — Bill and Jeanne — have been quieter than church mice. I follow the local press and they have been AWOL. Dick Swett, Katrina Swett — I think they both passed away or moved to Vermont. Again, two so-called Clinton supporters AWOL.

There are dozens of New Hampshire state reps and senators, all of whom must have started an early winter hibernation because I have not heard from them, either.  They have been totally remiss in their support and defense of candidate Hillary. The one exception has been Kathleen Sgambati. At a recent Clinton campaign visit to Gilford, Sgambati was there to introduce the candidate. It was a rather tepid introduction, but at least Sgambati was there.

So, the months have passed while the Idle stood idle, and Hillary’s lead has dwindled from some twenty plus points to a statistical dead heat.

But today, speech after long silence. . . 

In an interview with the Washington Post, Bill Shaheen mentioned, tentatively, that Barack Obama might have a drug issue that the Other Party might exploit. Thank you, Bill Shaheen, for raising an issue that has been on the minds of many of us for more than a few months.

I understand that you and Jeanne had dinner with Senator Clinton over Labor Day. At the time you were probably looking forward to future dinners with Hillary at the White House — just you, the future Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Madame President, and First Husband, Bill.

It might not be too late to make that dream a reality.

Losing New Hampshire does not mean an end to Hillary’s campaign, but it all gets tougher once she leaves here. But to not lose means you have to work to win. I know that sounds like more than you bargain for. You and the rest of Hillary’s friends need to do a little heavy lifting for the next few weeks.

Fancy titles will not get the job done. Speaking out for her will. Educating your fellow Democrats about her strengths and the weaknesses of Obama and Edwards will. Being an example to the rest of us non-famous Democrats who need to get out the vote, make phone calls, stand in the snow holding “Vote for Hillary!” signs — that will help, too.

If Hillary loses New Hampshire, I will never blame her. She has not let me down. She’s been a great candidate. 

Don’t let the blame fall on your shoulders, either.