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Clinton And Sanders Team Up In N.H. To Campaign About College Affordability04:28
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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., take the stage during a campaign stop at the University Of New Hampshire in Durham on Wednesday. (Matt Rourke/AP)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., take the stage during a campaign stop at the University Of New Hampshire in Durham on Wednesday. (Matt Rourke/AP)
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DURHAM, N.H. — They were together again in New Hampshire — Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her former rival for the nomination, Bernie Sanders.

"So, is everybody here ready to transform America?" asked Sanders, cheers from a crowd erupted at a campaign stop for Clinton Wednesday at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.

Sanders came to help Clinton as she tries to transform her campaign into a millennial vote-getting machine.

It was young voters, like those at Wednesday's rally, who fueled Sanders' primary victory last February when he captured 80 percent of the youth vote. Clinton, by contrast, is drawing only about 40 percent of millennials, according to recent polls.

So Sanders was back on stage, talking once again about inequality, the one percent and Donald Trump.

“At a time when we have massive levels of income and wealth inequality, it is absurd, it is disgraceful for Donald Trump and his friends to be talking about hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks for the top one percent,” he said.

When she took the stage, it appeared Clinton couldn’t resist saying, “Isn’t this one of the strangest elections you’ve ever seen ... ?"

She referenced Monday night’s debate with Trump in her beginning remarks. The debate has earned Clinton mostly positive reviews and appears to have brought some new energy and confidence to her campaign.

“I really don’t know, at times, what to make of it," she said, agreeing with the sentiment of absurdity in this election.

Clinton and Sanders sit on a panel discussion during a campaign stop at the University Of New Hampshire in Durham, N.H. on Wednesday. (Matt Rourke/AP)
Clinton and Sanders sit on a panel discussion during a campaign stop at the University Of New Hampshire in Durham, N.H. on Wednesday. (Matt Rourke/AP)

Clinton came to tout a plan to make college more affordable for middle- and low-income Americans. And she aimed the plan at New Hampshire in particular, which she noted has the highest proportion of students with college debt in the country.

“So we should — and we will — make public college tuition free for families earning less than $125,000 a year," she said to cheers.

Her plan would also make community college free and help students refinance their college debt.

Many in the audience were students who welcomed Clinton's ideas, saying they are among the reasons they’re voting for her.

“So, when I was looking at colleges, being able to afford where I was going was really important, so it was definitely a consideration," said Caroline Taylor, a student at Wellesley College. "We need to support those who want to further their education, but just don’t have the financial resources to do so.”

Some in attendance, like UNH student Eli Tyrrel-Walker, recently switched their allegiance to Clinton.

“Well, to be honest, I was a Bernie supporter," he said. "To be honest, a pretty big one. ..."

Tyrrel-Walker is exactly the kind of young voter Clinton needs to win over, but a surprising number appear to be turning to third-party candidates. Tyrrel-Walker said he understands why.

"One of the problems she’s having with the millennials is that people find her corrupt, disingenuous, a liar," he said. "I think that’s one of the reasons Bernie did so well — he seemed very authentic."

Tyrrel-Walker said he was pleased with Wednesday's event, though.

"She’s coming to the college, speaking to students about the issues that are concerning them,” he said.

The fact that Clinton was back in New Hampshire Wednesday, and that Trump will be there later Thursday is the latest indication of how important this state could be, especially as polls show the contest is tightening in many battleground states.

“Everybody remembers the 2000 election: George W. Bush beat Al Gore in New Hampshire by 7,000 votes," said Andy Smith, a political science professor, who runs the UNH Survey Center.

Smith pointed out that if Gore had won New Hampshire in 2000 — a state he was expected to win — he would have been president. And the contested vote in Florida wouldn’t have mattered.

“So I think people remember that, they know that New Hampshire is a close state. If you look at the electoral map, it looks like it’s going to be very close," he explained. "Politics is governed by fear. Nobody wants to wake up the next morning and realize they lost, because they lost a state they expected to win — and every electoral vote counts.”

And little New Hampshire has four electoral votes. On Wednesday, Sanders stressed the same point: that the Granite State could decide who wins in November.

This segment aired on September 29, 2016.

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Anthony Brooks Twitter Senior Political Reporter
Anthony Brooks is WBUR's senior political reporter.

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