Clinton Reaches Out To Young NH Voters

The Clinton Campaign continued its outreach to young voters Saturday, holding roundtables with undecided Granite Staters and launching an “Ask Hillary” feature on the campaign web site to allow voters to pose questions directly to Hillary.

Hillary and Chelsea Clinton held a roundtable with four undecided voters ages 18 to 25 on the campaign bus traveling between Penacook and Durham today, fielding a range of questions on the most pressing issues facing young people in New Hampshire. Among the undecideds were Ben Coleman of Bristol, who celebrates his 18th birthday today and plans to major in science and mathematics at the University of New Hampshire.

In Durham, Hillary continued her outreach to young voters, holding an hour-long conversation with 30 young undecideds at the Bagelry.

Pool Report:

Peter Nicholas, LA Times

On the bus from Penacook to Durham, Hillary Clinton and her daughter Chelsea held a "roundtable" event with four young undecided voters. Ben Coleman, from Bristol, is an 18-year-old freshman at the University of New Hampshire, where he's studying math. Monica Matthews, also 18, is from New Hampshire but is a freshman at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, where she's studying environmental science. Laura Lawler, 24, of Manchester, teaches 8th grade history. Jeff Penta, 25, works as a career counselor at Hesser College and is studying for his master's degree at Southern New Hampshire University.

The conversation was wide-ranging, touching on penicillin-resistant diseases, nutrition, student debt and the war in Iraq.

"One of the things that I'm really interested in is hearing what's on your minds about this election. because obviously, every election is about the future," Hillary Clinton said. The conversation, she said, came before tonight's debate, which is co-sponsored by Facebook. "Particularly because of this Facebook emphasis of today, and then going forward, we really wanted to hear especially from young voters."

Asking about Clinton's health care plan, Lawler said, "How can we give health care to people who don't take care of their own bodies?"

Clinton talked about getting "people into the health care system" and tying "financial incentives to behavior changes."

Chelsea Clinton spoke up several times. When the conversation turned to debt from student loans, she said, "that's a huge issue for so many of my friends who are freshly out of graduate school…My friends are making decisions based on the income level they need to service their debt."

At one point, the talk turned to math. "We were in Iowa, and on the rope line we met someone I went to math camp with," Chelsea Clinton said. "I also loved fractals when I was about 14."

Hillary Clinton asked Matthews and Coleman who they got interested in science.

"I think you need to start with funding," Matthews said.

The group began discussing the need to keep students motivated and engaged. "I went to public school growing up, and then when we moved to the White House I went to private school, largely so that I could be insulated from people like them," Chelsea Clinton said, pointing to the reporters on board the bus.

In Arkansas, she said, "I tested out of elementary math."

"In my school…there were maybe five of us who were recognized in second grade to be gifted in math, we would go after school for two or three hours twice a week, instead of taking math class, to do more cool, fun math things, so I was stimulated and excited and encouraged, and why I loved math enough to go to math camp and why I loved math enough to try it at Stanford, and realized it wasn't what I was destined for." The program, Chelsea Clinton said, meant that she and her peers stayed "engaged" with math.

At one point, Lawler – who discussed her interest in farmer – talked about being a vegan.

"I came home when I was 11 and just declared that I was no longer eating red meat, which at the time I liked to think that it was purely motivated by reactions to two articles I read in my life science class, one about the detrimental qualities of excessive amounts of red meat on your body and two, about the living conditions of cattle in slaughter houses," Chelsea Clinton said. "However, I think there was also some emergent rebelliousness."

"That's pretty much the way I remember it!," Hillary Clinton said.

"And then I gave up all meat and fish, and was a full vegetarian for many years, and now I do eat fish. But I never became a total vegan partly because I could never really reconcile giving up yogurt and honey, which are probably my two favorite foods," Chelsea Clinton said.

"My mother had this sort of assiduous campaign where she'd leave things about you know, how to lead a well-balanced vegetarian life on my bed, so when I would come home from school or ballet, there's was always a constant concern that I was getting enough protein," Chelsea Clinton said. But her mother, she said, "was very supportive."

"As a carnivore myself, it's a little hard to understand," Hillary Clinton joked.