December 21, 2015
Updated February 1, 2016
College Communications and Marketing
On Saturday, December 19, Saint Anselm College lived up to its reputation as "New Hampshire's Home for Politics," when it hosted the first Democratic Primary Debate of 2015 in partnership with ABC News and the New Hampshire Union Leader. Broadcasting live from the college's Carr Center, the debate featured former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT.), and former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley who discussed national security, taxes, the economy, healthcare, and college affordability.
On Saturday evening, the picturesque St. Anselm campus transformed into Democratic debate central, complete with raucous supporters, Secret Service, hundreds of reporters and many of New Hampshire's best-known political figures descending on the small college. ~Ella Nilsen, Concord Monitor staff
Behind the Scenes
Behind the scenes, Saint Anselm College students and staff assisted in debate preparations, from setting up the debate hall and media filing center to standing-in for candidates as ABC finalized camera angles. More than 50 students got in on the action as runners for the on-air talent and ABC's production staff and assistants to ABC's public relations team.
"I learned first-hand how everything in production works," said business major Brian Pickowicz '16, who worked with the production manager.
English major Robbie Merritt '17 stood-in for candidate Bernie Sanders and escorted guests to their seats during the event. He said the experience made him realize that there are many future career doors open to him, including ones he hadn't considered before, such as speechwriting.
"Being an English major and finding my niche through this has been a really cool experience," said Merritt.
"Live, from Saint Anselm College"
From noon on Saturday on, the campus was buzzing with campaign supporters, members of the media, Secret Service, the candidates' campaigner staffers, and of course, ABC's team finalizing the debate hall.
Students who attended the debate were excited to be in on the action.
"I had a great time on Saturday," said accounting major Brian Stankiewicz '17. "What a unique opportunity to meet people, not only the politicians, but media, Secret Service, debate organizers. I'm really fortunate that all of this happens at Saint Anselm."
An estimated 1,000 guests and several hundred members of the associated press were welcomed to campus, and viewers nationwide watched on TV or online via ABC livestream as the candidates faced off at 8 p.m.
This was the first of only two debates to be held in New Hampshire this election cycle. Saint Anselm College will do it all over again for the Republican Primary Debate on Saturday, February 6.
- Saint Anselm Blog: Students Work Behind the Scenes at the Democratic Debate »
- Concord Monitor: "On the Scene: 'It takes an army'" »
- Forbes: Clinton, Sanders And O'Malley Get Another Crack At Promoting Their Free-College Plans »
- The San Francisco Chronicle: Sanders, Clinton move past rancor over data breach »
- CNN: Clinton eyes general election at Democratic debate »
- The New Yorker: Democratic Debate Offers Up No Winners, but a Clear Choice »
- POLITICO: What you didn't see on TV: Behind the scenes of the Democratic debate »