After experiencing a last minute change of plans, which opened up our morning schedule, we had the pleasure of touring the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. Located at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, NH, the Institute has been striving to educate citizens and engage them in political activity since it’s doors opened in 2001. We toured the facility which includes classrooms, large rooms for talks and other gatherings, a research center, and hallways lined with historical campaign photos and memorabilia. We also found the Institute’s numerous green rooms and television studios, used for interviewing the vast array of candidates who visit the Institute, quite interesting. These days, the Center is averaging about 10 “hits” (interviews) a day. The backdrops and lighting in the studio can be controlled from several remote locations. The New Hampshire Institute of Politics hosted the National Democratic Debate on December 19th, 2015 and will host the National Republican Debate on February 6th, 2016. As the Institute’s Executive Director shared with us, this location is the center of more political campaign activity than any single location in the United States.
After concluding our tour of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, we traveled to the western edge of the state to attend a Bernie Sanders’ Rally at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH. We arrived at Dartmouth around 4pm and a line for the 7pm event was already forming outside the building. Thankfully, event volunteers utilized the large, open floor plan of the Hopkins Center to move the line indoors, bringing people inside out of the cold, winter weather. The picture below was taken after the line moved inside (much warmer than outdoors!).
The 900 seat auditorium was quickly filled and we were told multiple overflow rooms were used as well. Senator Sanders gave a rousing speech that got the crowd cheering, but only took a few short questions at the conclusion of his speech. This was unlike the majority of other candidates we have seen who spent most of their time answering questions fielded from the audience. Perhaps his presentation style was due to the exceptionally large crowd, or possibly he considered a longer speech to be the most efficient manner of conveying his ideas. Regardless, we enjoyed witnessing yet another perspective and shared our thoughts about the rally over dinner at Molly’s, a local Hanover restaurant.
As it is now 12:04am, we officially have one day left of this incredible program before we head to the airport to return to St. Louis. It is bittersweet and we are fully prepared to make the most of the upcoming day!