BU News Service Staff
MANCHESTER, N.H. — Thousands of supporters carrying lighted “BERNIE” signs and wearing green t-shirts for Elizabeth Warren rushed into the Southern New Hampshire University arena Saturday night to hear a flood of Democrats speak as the candidates file into the state ahead of the New Hampshire primaries Tuesday.
Although the Biden campaign had not handed out any sort of lighting display, his supporters shone their cellphone lights to show their support.
Many attendees filed out after Sanders spoke, leaving Deval Patrick, Michael Bennett and Tulsi Gabbard to speak to an emptying stadium.
By Sammie Purcell
Mayor Pete Buttigieg was the first candidate to speak at the McIntyre-Shaheen dinner, stepping out to “High Hopes” by Panic! at the Disco and loud cheers from his supporters.
“I am here one more time to ask you to join me not only in ending the era of Donald Trump, but in launching the era that comes next,” he said.
Buttigieg addressed his lack of experience right away. He drew a parallel between the size of South Bend, Ind., where he is mayor and Manchester.
Buttigieg also stressed his appeal to rural towns.
“Americans, in small rural towns … are tired of being reduced to a punchline by Washington politicians,” he said.
Buttigieg spent a lot of time drawing attention to the differences between himself and Trump and said that he doesn’t want to push divides in the country any further.
“This is our one chance to defeat Donald Trump,” he said. “There is an American majority that is unified in not only what we are against, but what we are for.”
Buttigieg went on to highlight his support for higher wages, support for teachers and his plans for healthcare. As his remarks drew to a close, he paused as his supporters began to loudly chant.
He ended his statements by stressing the importance of unity and belonging in America’s future.
“My belief in this America is not the product of my age, but the product of my experience,” he said. “Let’s make history and let’s go on to defeat Donald Trump.”
By Lillian Eden
Amy Klobuchar’s corner of the stadium waved their bright green signs enthusiastically as she stepped on the stage.
“It is so great to be here with all of you,” she began. “And in the state that had the audacity to send not one, but two women to the United States Senate.”
She returned frequently to the theme of unity in her remarks.
“We know that what unites us is bigger than what divides us,” she said.
Trump, whom Klobuchar referred to as the “divider-in-chief,” blames many other people and groups for the problems in this country, including former President Barack Obama, immigrants and his own appointees, she said.
“I’ve won every single election I’ve run in back to the fourth grade,” she reassured the crowd.
She said that she wants to inspire people to think that they too, can make it in America, no matter their background.
“What is missing is the sacred trust between a president and his people,” she said.
By Katharine Swindells
Biden’s speech cut a stark difference to his confident competitors. His anecdotes were rambling and hard to follow as he paced the stage.
At one point he confused his own stories, having to return to his notes to remember the place in his speech.
His ultimate message was the same as always, not necessarily for himself but rather against Trump.
“Folks, I think you all know what’s at stake,” he said. “We cannot take four more years of this.”
He drew on themes of tradition and upbringing as he tried to appeal to the New Hampshire Democratic voters.
“This is not the America any of us grew up in, that we believe in,” he said.
He focused on Trump’s problematic behavior and Trump’s attitude toward women and people with disabilities.
He claimed that Trump didn’t have a shred of decency in him.
“That’s not how I was brought up, and I know that’s not how you were brought up,” he declared.
Only in his final line did he seem to resonate with the audience. As he spoke of his family, voters from all candidate camps stood up to applaud.
“I lost my wife and my daughter, I lost my son,” he said. “But I’ll be damned if I’m going to lose the election to this man!”
By Devyani Chhetri
Andrew Yang swaggered confidently into the arena.
The 45-year-old tech mogul rolled his wrists around, brushed his cuffs and started his night by telling the crowd he’d gone to New Hampshire for high school back in 1992.
The audience was laughing with him for most of his speech.
“You are all powerful and influential people,” he said to an audience dominated by Bernie, Buttigieg and Warren supporters.
“Do you know how many Californians each of you are worth? One thousand Californians each,” he proclaimed.
Hillary Clinton’s answer to Trump’s MAGA slogan was that America was already great.
To Yang, Trump’s campaign had a compelling message in 2016. Trump said that he would make America great again, in spite of the economic hardship at the time.
Yang said that Clinton’s message didn’t resonate with Americans because it undermined the economic crisis that rocked many American households.
He offered himself as an alternative to Trump.
“The opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who can do math,” Yang said.
By Lillian Eden
Steyer stated that unlike the other candidates he would make climate his number one priority.
“Every single Democrat running remains a million times better than the criminal in the white house,” Steyer stated.
Steyer touched on some popular themes in the democratic party, such as public education, free universal kindergarten and an increased minimum wage.
“When you see something wrong in the United States, fight it,” he encouraged.
Steyer also encouraged audiences to pull together as the “gloriously diverse Democratic party.”
“As Democrats in New Hampshire on Tuesday, let’s go show up and kick their [expletive],” he said.
By Mita Kataria
Senator Elizabeth Warren walked out to the Dolly Parton hit “9 To 5” and a loud cheer from the crowd.
She began by talking about the two tasks that the U.S. will face this year. One, to defeat Trump and two, to get Mitch McConnell out of the Senate.
“There are a lot of people who are worried that this fight against Trump might not be winnable, but I have been winning unwinnable fights all my life,” Warren said.
Warren said that four years of the Trump presidency has made Americans afraid. They are afraid for their neighbors, their children, their country and their planet, she said.
She felt that their fears were not unfounded.
“The danger is real and our country hangs in the balance,” Warren said.
Warren told the audience that she was running the race from her heart based on her experience fighting for working families.
“I’m not offering a bunch of proposals that are carefully designed not to offend big corporations,” she declared. “I passed that stop sign a long time ago.”
She shared that she wanted to build an America where every person had value. She ended her speech by asking people to join her in the fight if they believed that her idea of America was worth fighting for.
“This moment in history comes to us, and this moment in history will not come again,” she said. “This is our moment to dream big, fight hard and win.”
By Anoushka Dalmia
Senator Bernie Sanders congratulated New Hampshire amid the deafening roar of his supporters, who frequently interrupted both his remarks and the remarks of others throughout the night.
Introducing himself as a neighbor to the New Hampshire crowd, the Vermont senator thanked the state for helping lead his revolution of universal healthcare, free college and a $15 minimum wage.
“When these ideas seemed radical four years ago, the people of New Hampshire didn’t think so,” Sanders said. “They said these are the ideas of the United States working class.”
Sanders called Trump “the most dangerous president in the history of our country.”
“No matter who wins the nomination, we are going to come together to defeat the most dangerous president of our country,” he said, ending with a call for unity, which was a common topic among the candidates.
Contrary to that camaraderie was the moment the senator proclaimed that he won in Iowa by 6,000 votes.
By Devyani Chhetri
Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick was the last candidate to join the Democratic ballot, and likewise was near the end of speakers at Saturday night’s fundraiser. He echoed the message from most candidates, shots at the current president.
The governor was the only one who addressed the supposed economic growth celebrated by Trump in his State of the Union speech Tuesday.
“The unemployment rate was low because it doesn’t account for thousands of Americans who get paid below the set minimum wage,” he said. “Inflation was low as long as the cost of housing and healthcare were not accounted for.”
Patrick also called attention to his wealth of experience as the two-time governor of Massachusetts. Like the other candidates, he talked about combating the divisiveness in American politics.
“I’m a proud Democrat,” Patrick said. “I don’t think you have to hate Republicans to be a Democrat. You don’t have to hate the police to believe that Black lives matter.”
Patrick compared the current situation at the southern border to 2016 when Obama asked governors across the country if they would give asylum to displaced children. It wasn’t an easy decision, he said.
“We have learned to shout our anger and whisper our kindness, and it’s completely upside down,” he said.
By Sammie Purcell
“For those who have hung around, thank you for hanging around,” Senator Michael Bennett joked as he took the stage.
Bennett kept his opening remarks jovial, saying that he had spent more time in New Hampshire than any other candidate and that he’d “run out of places to go.”
Bennett frequently criticized the Senate and the Senate Majority Leader. He made light of the low approval rating of the Senate (9%), and he pointed out that even the IRS has a higher approval rating.
Bennett highlighted his experience winning elections in purple states and his time as superintendent of Denver Public Schools as helpful to his candidacy. He said his plan as president would address the needs of the middle class.
By Devyani Chhetri
In her signature white pantsuit, Tulsi Gabbard was last speaker of the night.
“American people are looking for a fresh new generation of leadership,” Gabbard said with a smile. “As a 38-year-old, don’t I qualify for that?”
Gabbard highlighted her seven years serving in Congress and mentioned her experience bringing together coalitions across party lines.
She also spoke of her background as a veteran and as a member of the National Security Council and Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
“I understand the human cost of war,” she said.
She asked the voters in New Hampshire to consider how her experience could help bring a soldier’s value to the White House and add integrity to service.
The candidates will continue to canvass New Hampshire ahead of the primaries. Voting will begin Tuesday and close at 8 p.m.