Pundits are already picking over who came out on top in last night’s Democratic primary town hall with Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton in Derry — but, judging by the initial reactions on social media, the night’s real winners might actually be the voters of New Hampshire.
On display tonight: New Hampshire voters are great at asking very probing, insightful questions.
— Dan Merica (@danmericaCNN) February 4, 2016
These town halls are much more humanizing than debates because real human beings are asking genuinely searching, intelligent questions.
— Ryan Kearney (@rkearney) February 4, 2016
Some excellent questions at this CNN town hall tonight. Good work, NH peeps.
— Sandra Hutchison (@SheerHubris) February 4, 2016
The question by the rabbi was beautiful. The intellectual level of the questions coming from this NH crowd are fantastic. #CNNTownHall
— Dylan Galper (@dylanggalper) February 4, 2016
Turns out New Hampshire residents have better questions than debate moderators... #DemTownHall
— Windy Aldeborgh (@Winsor_Rose) February 4, 2016
— Melinda Fox (@FoxMelinda) February 4, 2016
— Andy Corren (@andycorren) February 4, 2016
Sure, all of this praise probably comes as no surprise to New Hampshire’s politically active citizens, many of whom are used to seeing their neighbors pose thoughtful — and occasionally tough — questions to presidential hopefuls.
Still, while these events are in many cases chronicled by the political press, it’s rare for the rest of the nation to witness a Granite State town hall in full, in real time — as was the case Wednesday night.
(And, given the strong reviews, it’s probably safe to assume that New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary defenders will cite this forum in any future arguments over the state’s place in the nominating calendar.)
The town hall, hosted by CNN, kicked off one final stretch of forums ahead of the New Hampshire primary. The Democratic candidates (after much back-and-forth) are set to debate at the University of New Hampshire tonight. The Republicans will do the same at Saint Anselm College on Saturday.