Dateline: New Hampshire / by marilyn salenger

If the Hillary Clinton who took the stage at the New Hampshire Town Hall on Wednesday night is the Hillary Clinton that continues to be front and center, she'll be well on her way to winning.  What we saw was a woman who was unveiled, more open than can be remembered, more showing of her heart and personal feelings that most have seen. It's what many of her supporters and some undecided voters have been waiting a long time to see.

New Hampshire voters are some of the most well informed in the country. In my days stumping their snowy hills with candidates, I was absolutely taken with how knowledgeable they were, and their Town Hall gathering last night showed that to the rest of the country. They asked questions of both Bernie Saunders and Hillary Clinton that in many cases had not been asked by journalists. They asked them respectfully and opened up personally, which in turn opened up the candidates. Rare. The audience was well spoken with an earnest desire to hear the answers.  Whether is was the cancer patient asking Hillary what she said had never been asked of her before and concerned making end of life issues easier for people. Or the Rabbi who asked about how she handles humility and the ego necessary to run for political office prompting Secretary Clinton to respond " Practice the discipline of gratitude. That has helped me enormously. I've had to be in public dealing with very personal issues."  She continued along that personal path ... "My husband was such a natural. This is hard for me. It was about service not standing on stage when I began."

Bernie spoke about how his religious and spiritual feelings impact him.  "My spirituality is that we're all in this together." And he brought an ease of humor and style. When asked about electability, "Voter turnout is key."

Addressing a key Clinton campaign issue focusing on why young women don't seem to be rallying to her support, Hillary told Anderson Cooper," I accept the fact that I have work to do to convey what I want to do.  Whether they're for me or not, I'm for them." But it was the mother of five twenty something year old daughters who brought the issue home. "How can I get them to vote for you?" Clinton's response started slowly talking about helping them learn about her record.  But then she broke lose. "I'm going to try hard to break the hardest and strongest glass ceiling there is. I hope it will open doors for them." 

That's what electing the first female President has the potential to do. The New Hampshire Town Hall has now maximized its own potential as a role model for helping us substantively learn more about the candidates running for President of the United States.