The 8 a.m. “Politics and Eggs” forum was somewhat more subdued than the booming campaign rallies Donald Trump has held in other parts of the state.
But the crowd gathered in at the Manchester Radisson Wednesday morning was — to borrow a favorite descriptor from the candidate himself — still pretty “huge.”
About 600 people attended, making it the largest Politics and Eggs in the history of the series, according to Saint Anselm College President Steven DiSalvo. It’s the second record-setting Politics and Eggs this year, after more than 400 people showed up to hear Hillary Clinton speak at an earlier candidate forum in October.
Trump spoke for a few minutes at the outset but spent much of the event fielding questions from the audience on education issues, VA reform and Social Security.
At one point, a man asked Trump how he planned to address the heroin problem afflicting New Hampshire and many other parts of the country.
Questions about drug addiction have been posed to almost every candidate passing through New Hampshire this year, as the state grapples with a rising tide of overdoses and other issues around addiction.
Trump, in his response, outlined two main goals. He pledged broadly to take care of those who need treatment for addiction. But he also argued that his plan to build a large wall across the country's southern border — as part of his vision for stopping illegal immigration — is also an important part of the solution.
“We’ve got to close up the borders,” Trump said. “The drugs are pouring in. You know, when I say, ‘Build a wall,’ I’m not just playing games — we’re gonna have a real wall.”
Later on, another audience member asked Trump if he'd given much thought to who he'd pick as vice president — nudging Trump toward Chris Christie for consideration. Trump called the New Jersey governor a "good guy" and said there could be a place for Christie, but he wasn't ready to make any decisions on a potential running mate.
And on a lighter note, Trump fielded a question from a 10-year-old from Bedford who was looking for the candidate’s opinion on NASA.
“I think it’s great. You know, in the old days, it was great,” Trump said. “Right now, we have bigger problems — you understand that. We’ve got to fix our potholes, you know, we don’t have exactly a lot of money.”
Still, Trump assured the boy that he wasn’t too sour on the space program. He suggested that a move toward privatization in space industry might be a good thing.
“It’s very exciting, and if you’re looking to do that I think it’s terrific for the future,” Trump continued. “And you love it, I can see — right? You love it? Whatever it is you love, you do.”