By Sarah Toy
BU News Service
In a departure from his usual arena-sized rallies, Donald Trump returned to New Hampshire Thursday night to host a town hall, where he fielded questions about the first presidential debate, job prospects and rival Hillary Clinton.
This was Trump’s second visit to the swing state in eight days. With his poll numbers slipping, last night’s event in Sandown, N.H., was thought to be a rehearsal of sorts for Sunday’s second presidential debate with Clinton. Sunday’s debate will also be in town hall-style, with questions coming from citizens themselves.
“This has nothing to do with Sunday,” Trump said in his opening address to an audience of fewer than a hundred people.
“Do you really think Hillary Clinton is debate-prepping for three or four days?” Trump added. “She’s resting.”
Sunday’s debate will be much more intense than last night’s town hall, which was invite-only. Questions were screened by his campaign before Howie Carr, a conservative radio talk show host, read them aloud. Trump was free to wander through topics as he pleased without fact checks or time checks.
Reading from his notes, Trump went through a list of favorable poll numbers, though most polls show Clinton in the lead. He denied rumors that he was upset at the praise running mate Mike Pence received for his vice-presidential debate performance. He said he “held back” during the first presidential debate because he wanted to keep the focus on policy and would try to do the same for the second.
In an appeal to the middle class, he declared that “the really good jobs are gone, and they’re going to other countries.”
“We’re going to have a country that makes product again,” he said. “We’re going to have lots of people working.”
Jefferson Odhner, an attendee who has worked on Trump’s campaign since its beginning and has been a fan for years, said he was supporting Trump because he would secure the borders and improve foreign trade policies.
“Both of those things will bring jobs back,” Odhner said.
Jess Edwards, a Republican in New Hampshire running for state representative who mingled outside the hall but was not invited to participate, said that Trump was appealing because “most of these people are small business people.”
In his opinion, “both parties suck.” However, Edwards said he plans to vote for Trump.
“The thing that will determine how my kids will live is how the Supreme Court turns,” he said.
Trump addressed this at the end of the night.
“We need great justices who are going to uphold our constitution,” he declared. “If Hillary Clinton gets in, we are going to have a much different country.”
Carr handed Trump’s final question to him on a card, reminding him to keep in mind where he was that night.
He looked at it for a moment.
“The World Series,” he read aloud.
The New Yorker paused.
“Oh, of course it’s Boston.”