2014 In Review: New Hampshire's Home For Politics

Mark Halperin & John Heileman

History is made every day at New Hampshire's home for politics. Anyone who wants to be a participant, not merely a bystander, can do it at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics & Political Library (NHIOP) at Saint Anselm College. 2014 brought several events and announcements that garnered national attention for the College.

Donald Trump came to campus for a memorable "Politics & Eggs" breakfast with The New England Council late in January. As the midterm elections heated up, campaign visits and speeches were commonplace in the NHIOP auditorium. ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos was on campus October 30 to co-moderate a closely-watched debate between Jeanne Shaheen and Scott Brown.

With the year drawing to a close, and as interest ramped up heading into the state's pivotal presidential primary and 2016 election, Bloomberg Politics and the NHIOP announced a partnership on polls, events and student journalism, as well as a joint commitment to civic activism.

New College Commercial Debuts; Highlights NHIOP

Donald Trump Speaks at "Politics and Eggs" Event

January 21, 2014

The New England Council, in partnership with the New Hampshire Institute of Politics & Political Library at Saint Anselm College, hosted real estate entrepreneur and television star Donald Trump on January 21 at the "Politics & Eggs" breakfast speaker event.

Donald Trump poses with students for a photoMore than 250 guests, including students, staff, regional business leaders, and the media gathered in Davison Hall. Trump took the stage and spoke on personal business ventures and political issues including the Affordable Care Act and 2016 presidential candidates. He also admitted that it was because of an early appearance in the Granite State that his political aspirations began to take shape. In late 1980s, Trump was asked to deliver a motivational speech on success. "All of a sudden because it was New Hampshire, I heard for the first time that I was running for president."

The breakfast opened with remarks from Saint Anselm College President Steven R. DiSalvo. "Saint Anselm College, and our New Hampshire Institute of Politics & Political Library is a premiere forum – and frequently the first stop – for those interested in our storied primary and New Hampshire's tried-and-tested political process," DiSalvo noted. "With the 2016 election on the horizon, Saint Anselm College and the NHIOP will once again take a leading role in hosting town hall conversations, nationally broadcast debates and gatherings like this one, where New Hampshire citizens, the media, and our students can reap the benefits of being first in the nation."

Institute of Politics Hosts Final Debates Before Election

Jeanne Shaheen and Scott Brown at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics

October 31, 2014

The New Hampshire Institute of Politics & Political Library at Saint Anselm College hosted the "Granite State Debates," sponsored by WMUR-TV and the New Hampshire Union Leader October 27-30.

Monday, October 27: First Congressional District Debate

The "Granite State Debates" kicked off Monday night at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics & Political Library. The First Congressional District debate was held between incumbent Carol Shea-Porter and challenger Frank Guinta. Throughout the night, they discussed major issues such as gun control laws, ISIS, and immigration reform.

Tuesday, October 28: Second Congressional District Debate

The second night of the "Granite State Debates" brought Second Congressional District candidates Annie Kuster and Marilinda Garcia to the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. Kuster and Garcia battled on equal pay for women, raising the minimum wage, and whether the Affordable Care Act should be repealed or repaired.

Wednesday, October 29: Gubernatorial Debate

On Wednesday night, Gubernatorial candidates Maggie Hassan and Walt Havenstein faced off in the third debate of the "Granite State Debates" series. They covered topics including right-to-work legislation, real estate taxes, and repealing the death penalty, among others.

Thursday, October 30: U.S. Senate Debate

The "Granite State Debates" concluded Thursday night with U.S. Senate candidates Jeanne Shaheen and Scott Brown. The debate was co-anchored by WMUR-TV Political Director Josh McElveen and ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos. Shaheen and Brown discussed casino gambling in the state, the appropriate response to Ebola threats, and gun control laws.

Saint Anselm Partners with Bloomberg Politics

Mark Halperin & John Heileman

November 19, 2014

Bloomberg Politics and the New Hampshire Institute of Politics (NHIOP) at Saint Anselm College announced a partnership on polls, events and student journalism, as well as a joint commitment to civic activism heading into the state's pivotal presidential primary and 2016 election.

To kick off the partnership, both outlets released their first joint 2016 New Hampshire poll November 24. The polls are conducted by the bipartisan firm Purple Strategies, which was named one of the most accurate national and swing-state pollsters of 2012 by Fordham University.

New Hampshire Primary Poll: Read the results of the poll, as well as the questionnaire and responses of the full sample to questions asked.

As part of the collaboration, Bloomberg Politics will work with over a hundred Saint Anselm student journalists to deliver expansive reporting on the concerns of Granite State voters. Bloomberg Politics and the NHIOP will also co-sponsor town halls and political events in New Hampshire as part of their commitment to engage local groups and institutions in the political process.

Campaign 2012: A Look Back


"At Saint Anselm, it is part of our educational mission to help students develop the skills and wisdom they need to live in and help lead our nation. Our New Hampshire Institute of Politics, founded more than 10 years ago, embodies that mission not only for our students but also the citizens of our state."

Fr. Jonathan DeFelice, O.S.B., President, Saint Anselm College

In the Granite State, it's all politics, all the time. Home of the first-in-the-nation presidential primary, New Hampshire citizens and Saint Anselm students are presented with extraordinary opportunities to interact with the men and women who seek our nation's highest office. The 2012 campaign has moved on to South Carolina, and beyond, leaving New Hampshire to ponder the campaign that was. Here is our look back at campaign 2012.

Where Students Enroll in Election 101

New Hampshire's Saint Anselm College Comes Alive for Presidential Primaries

"At tiny Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire…the student body of 1,899 pulses with politics. Every four years, as the state heads into its first-in-the-nation presidential primary, the college is transformed into a hub of campaigning, town-hall meetings and high-profile debates. The gym becomes a press room, and campaign signs line Saint Anselm Drive. CNN blasts from televisions in the campus coffee shop, where display cases brim with political paraphernalia and students can be heard arguing over who will be the last candidate standing…" (Wall Street Journal, 1/6/12)

Building Buzz…

A visit by General David Petraeus to the college for a conversation in March 2010 (video) resulted in much chatter on whether the visit to the college was the precursor to a Presidential bid. Shortly after the four-star General's visit, he would be assigned as commander of the International Security Assistance Force and Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan. Petraeus now serves as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Here Come the Candidates…

Candidates, and soon to be candidates turn to Saint Anselm College and the New Hampshire Institute of Politics as "something of a proving ground" says Carl Cameron, chief political correspondent for Fox News Channel. Accordingly, it was no surprise to see many of the 2012 candidates visit early, and often.

A New Hampshire Town Hall Meeting
Gov. Rick Perry, Joined by AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

A Policy Address: Entitlement Reform
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich

No Apology: The Case for American Greatness
Former Gov. Mitt Romney

Newt Gingrich Forum
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich

America in Danger: The Mounting Financial Crisis and How Liberty Can Save Us
U.S. Congressman Ron Paul (TX-14)

Student Perspective: Inside America's Classroom…

Students participating in the EN330 "political communication" course were be invited by Fr. Jerome Day, O.S.B. to submit their weekly logs to the Saint Anselm College blog, offering a glimpse inside "America's Classroom" as we approached the 2012 New Hampshire primary.

"Who determines who the front-runner is in an election cycle? Is a candidate given the title of front-runner based simply on his or her credentials or is it based on how much fame they have obtained over the years? My naivety led me to believe that a candidate was given the title of front-runner based solely on his or her credentials and what they had done for America. However, through the start of this semester, I have begun to realize that it is the media who controls who the front-runner is in a presidential election." (Student Lyndsay Robinson 9/12/11)

Debates and Conversations…

Saint Anselm College was a media hub once again during the 2012 cycle, hosting nationally televised debates with CNN (June, 2011) and ABC News (January, 2012). You can click the date links for coverage from the Saint Anselm College blog, including video, behind the scenes student blogs, and more.

The college also sponsored a Lincoln-Douglas style conversation between Jon Huntsman and Newt Gingrich in November, 2011 garnering international attention for it's one-on-one style. (View our photo gallery)

Meeting the 'Lesser-Known' Candidates…

New Hampshire, $1,000 and a signature is all it takes to get onto the primary ballot. In 2012, 44 candidates registered. 35 of these 'lesser known' individuals were invited to appear at the NHIOP. Each candidate made an opening statement and responded to questions, in a broadcast aired by C-SPAN.

Faculty Experts Weigh in on New Hampshire Primary Hot Topics


Every four years, New Hampshire serves as a magnet to politicians and the media as the nation’s first presidential primary unfolds. Saint Anselm College professors weigh in on the latest issues affecting candidates coming out of the Iowa Caucuses. Click on the videos below for their thoughts. For information on these faculty experts or for other media inquires, please contact Laura Rossi at 603-656-7242 or lrossi@anselm.edu.

See the full list of faculty experts here.

Saint Anselm College Associate Professor of History Matthew Masur, Ph.D., offers his thoughts on the importance of the New Hampshire primary and debates as well as the lack of foreign policy discussions among candidates.


Saint Anselm College Assistant Professor of Politics Jennifer C. Lucas, Ph.D., offers her thoughts on the role of Michele Bachmann in the presidential race and how gender issues have shaped recent media coverage.


Saint Anselm College Assistant Professor of Politics Chris Galdieri offers his thoughts on the GOP candidates leading up to the New Hampshire primary.

This post was submitted by Jack Morris.

Students Tell Their Stories to the Wall Street Journal

Amanda Brahm

After her morning exam, English major Amanda Brahm sat down in the NHIOP and told a Wall Street Journal reporter about an experience she will never forget: standing in for presidential candidate Mitt Romney during rehearsals for the June 13 Republican primary debate on campus. She learned the candidate’s position and gave accurate answers to the moderator (a classmate standing in for CNN chief national correspondent John King). Meanwhile, technicians did sound and lighting checks in preparation for the live national broadcast.

Amanda Brahm

Amanda Brahm stands in for Governor Mitt Romney at the June 2011 presidential primary debate.

The reporter, Jennifer Levitz, wanted to know what it is like to be at Saint Anselm College during a presidential election cycle. These students had numerous up-close-and-personal experiences to relate.

“I have friends who go to college in Washington, D.C. and they’ve never had experiences like this,” said Lyndsay Robinson. “I’ve met every single candidate at least three times.”

Although she is a Romney supporter, Robinson will be assisting candidate Newt Gingrich during this afternoon’s Lincoln-Douglas style debate with Jon Huntsman.

Jake Wagner talked about being an intern in the Huntsman campaign. The passionate politics major and Huntsman supporter (with a minor in campaign management) has been a political addict since the age of eight, and is executive director of the Saint Anselm College Republicans.

Unlike Robinson and Wagner, Brahm is more interested in the election process than in a particular candidate.

As the students chatted with the Wall Street Journal reporter, MSNBC’s broadcast of political coverage played on the NHIOP’s wide screen TV in the background. For Saint Anselm students who want to get a closer look at politics in progress, the opportunities are unlimited.

This post was submitted by Laurie Morrissey.

Newt Gingrich Town Hall Meeting

Newt Gingrich signs a book for a Saint Anselm College student at NHIOP.

Newt Gingrich made a swing through New Hampshire Monday, stopping at the college’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics to present his alternative to Social Security. Speaking to an audience of more than 200 students, faculty and staff, as well as members of the general community, Gingrich said he would give young workers the option of investing their payroll taxes in private accounts, rather than in traditional Social Security. Gingrich, who has been topping the polls nationally, remains behind Mitt Romney in all but one New Hampshire poll, which has the two in a statistical dead heat. Gingrich took questions from the audience and then met privately with about 20 Saint Anselm students.

This post was submitted by Barbara Leblanc.

Journalist Balz Shares Primary Insights

Dan Balz (photo by Bill O'Leary/TWP)

“This is one of the strangest primary years we’ve ever seen,” said Washington Post journalist Dan Balz at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics (NHIOP) Friday morning. “Almost nothing we predicted is playing out the way we might have expected.” He addressed an audience at the Politics and Eggs series attended by business people and members of the faculty and student body, and even a Parliamentarian from Belgium.

Washington Post reporter Dan Balz (photo by Bill O'Leary /TWP)

Washington Post reporter Dan Balz (photo by Bill O'Leary /TWP)

Balz, the co-author of The Battle for America 2008, discussed the ups and downs of various contenders for the Republican primary nomination and the American people’s current disenchantment with President Barack Obama.

This primary process started out much more slowly than in previous years, he observed. “We have had the most fluid Republican lineup any of us can remember. There was almost as much attention to people who decided not to run as to people who decided to run. In almost every case, there was a great deal of discussion and commentary about them that created another story, which was, ‘What’s wrong with this field?’”

He also stressed the importance of this election cycle’s primary debates, saying that “virtually every debate has been consequential and has had significant impact on people’s impressions of candidates.” Saint Anselm College hosted one debate in June and will be the setting of another Jan. 7, just before the first-in-the-nation primary.

This is in many ways a high stakes election and a crucial election, Balz noted, as it plays out against the backdrop of a terrible economy and dissatisfaction with the way things are done in Washington.

He pointed out that a lot of Republicans are still reluctant to embrace Mitt Romney, who has a strong organization in New Hampshire. A poll released last month by the NHIOP and the Institute of Politics at Harvard University put Romney 18 points ahead of his closest rival in New Hampshire, Herman Cain, at 38 percent to 20 percent. The institutes will issue a second poll shortly before the Jan. 10 primary.

“I don’t know yet how much affection there will be for Mitt Romney,” Balz said, “but the party doesn’t have to love its nominee. It has to believe they are capable of winning in the general election and rally around that. The passion issue is going to be created on the Republican side by President Obama.”

He said that even unlikely candidates are valuable to the process by creating discussion around certain issues. “Things always change when the voters begin to vote. Let’s remember that come January, something is going to happen that we don’t expect.”

Asked by a listener how social media is affecting this campaign, he said, “with Twitter and the rolling, running news cycle, journalists run the risk of getting out ahead of where the story really is.”

Sen. Joe Biden Delivers Policy Address at Impact '08

Sen. Joe BidenIn this second podcast from the recent Impact '08 event held at the NHIOP, we feature a major policy address delivered by presidential candidate, and U.S. Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware. With an emphasis on the current situation in Pakistan, Senator Biden offers his remarks on U.S. foreign engagement, focusing on what he describes as "reengaging America in the world."

Impact '08 New Hampshire, presented by The Center for U.S. Global Engagement took place at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics on November 8, 2007. The forum, designed to foster a greater understanding about America's role in the world has been holding events in key early-election states to unite business, civic, faith-based and military leaders. The New Hampshire event featured remarks from presidential candidates Governor Bill Richardson (N.M.) and Senator Joseph Biden (DE).

Photo by Brian Wozniack

Gov. Bill Richardson Speaks on Global Leadership

N.M. Gov. Bill RichardsonThe New Hampshire Institute of Politics recently hosted Impact '08 New Hampshire, presented by The Center for U.S. Global Engagement. The forum, designed to foster a greater understanding about America's role in the world has been holding events in key early-election states to unite business, civic, faith-based and military leaders. The New Hampshire event featured remarks from presidential candidates Governor Bill Richardson (N.M.) and Senator Joseph Biden (DE).

In this podcast, we feature remarks from Governor Bill Richardson, with WMUR-TV anchor Tom Griffith serving as moderator. Governor Richardson, citing his foreign policy experience, issues a call for change and discusses global leadership, national security, the economy, and offers comments on the upcoming primary and election.

Photo by Brian Wozniak

Rudy Giuliani Cites His Experience During Visit

Mayor Rudy GiulianiThe New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College played host to Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani in a town-hall style forum. Mayor Giuliani spoke at length to a packed auditorium and full press section about his views and hopes for the future of America, then engaged in a question and answer session with students and the public.

Giuliani used his speech to talk about the importance of experience in a presidential candidate, highlighting his time spent as mayor of New York City. He explains how his life experiences would aid his presidential responsibilities.

Mayor Rudy GiulianiHe describes what he would look for in a vice-presidential running mate by giving an anecdote about his breakfast with former President Ronald Reagan on the morning he was shot, and explaining how that experience would impact his choice.

Mayor Giuliani made a point of talking about "doing the things that everyone thinks are impossible," and how he plans to accomplish them, both in domestic and international affairs.

Photos by Brian Wozniak

Media Coverage: Flickr Photos | Union Leader | Boston Globe | WBZ-TV | NECN

Gov. Mitt Romney Hosts Town Hall Meeting at Saint Anselm

Gov. Mitt RomneyIn the midst of midterm examinations, and with a student body anxious to return home for fall break, Saint Anselm students joined with members of the public this morning to attend a question and answer period with Republican Presidential candidate Gov. Mitt Romney.

The New Hampshire Institute of Politics auditorium was transformed for the town-hall style session, with Romney positioned in the midst of at least four different classes of students. In the rear of the room, press risers were filled with journalists from local newspapers, regional television stations, and the national media. Carl Cameron of Fox News was stationed outside the NHIOP all morning, utilizing the parking lot as a temporary television studio for reports from New Hampshire.

Gov. Mitt Romney at Saint Anselm College on 10/4/07Students took center stage all morning as New Hampshire Institute of Politics Student Ambassadors were on hand to greet Gov. Romney as he arrived in a motorcade shortly before 10 a.m. Once inside, Romney was introduced to the crowd by Greg Wallace '10. During the question and answer period, Gov. Romney took several questions from students of varying majors who attended the forum. Several staff members on the Romney campaign who attended the event were also familiar faces to the Saint Anselm campus, as a number of current staff members are also college alumni.

Media Interviews With Gov. Mitt Romney Outside the NHIOPFollowing another question and answer session with the assembled media outside the front entrance to the NHIOP, Romney caught a number of students off guard as he passed through the cafe as he headed for the motorcade to his next event.

Taking the moment in stride, two lunching students captured the attention of the governor, obtaining a quick handshake before the candidate and campaign staff departed.

Media Coverage: WMUR TV (ABC) | WBZ-TV (CBS) | NECN | Boston Globe | Associated Press | YouTube | Photos on Flickr

Credits: Photos by Alex Witkowicz '08. Podcast production assistance provide by Lauren Weybrew '08.