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Republican Presidential Candidates Debate at Saint Anselm

February 08, 2016

Laura Lemire
Communications and Marketing
(603) 641-7242

Republican Debate at  Saint Anselm CollegeSaint Anselm College was in the national spotlight again on Saturday night as seven Republican presidential candidates took the stage in the Carr Center for the highest rated debate so far in 2016.

Just days before the first-in-the-nation N.H. primary, the Republican Presidential Primary Debate broadcast live on ABC averaged 13.2 million viewers between 8 and 11 p.m. Combined with the Democratic Presidential Primary Debate held at the college in December, 21 million viewers have witnessed Saint Anselm College live up to its reputation as "New Hampshire's Home for Politics."

During the final debate before New Hampshire votes on Tues., Feb. 9, candidates former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Ohio Governor John Kasich, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, and Donald Trump took questions about foreign policy, health insurance, and immigration from ABC moderators David Muir and Martha Raddatz.

Behind the Scenes
Preparations for the big event began earlier in the week as ABC News and Google crews rolled onto campus to transform the Carr Center and Sullivan Arena respectively into the debate hall and the Google-sponsored media filing center and spin room.

The debate, a partnership between the college, ABC News,, and WMUR-TV, brought more than 500 credentialed journalists to the arena. The state-of-the-art technology hub in Sullivan provided the media with real-time data before, during, and after the event, as well as broadcasting platforms, interactive video walls, and a café. Saint Anselm College communication majors had a unique opportunity to tour the facility and see it all close up.

Sophomore Hayley Pettinato was impressed with what she saw: "Google is bringing the campaign process to life. Knowing that this is happening on campus is incredible."

While the group of 15 students visited Sullivan, more than 20 students assisted ABC in debate preparations and setup, including seven who acted as stand-ins for the candidates and several others who stood-in for additional talent and talking heads.

"It's our job, mine and the student standing-in for David Muir, to facilitate a debate as if it was the real thing," said Kristine Adams '16 who was standing-in for Martha Raddatz.

"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, Google's, and the Republican National Committee's teams making their final preparations.

As show time approached, more than 250 students gathered in the Dana Center's Koonz Theatre to watch on the big screen. Sponsored by the Independent Journal/ in collaboration with the college's student Republican club, the watch party was a unique opportunity for Saint Anselm students to participate in debate activities. ABC broadcast a segment of the watch party live on their Digital Channel and Facebook.

Regardless of their diverse views on the candidates, the student audience agreed on one thing – how exhilarating it was to hear David Muir announce, "Live from Saint Anselm College."

To see student and candidate selfies, photos, videos and additional debate coverage, visit

ABC News 2016 Republican Debate

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