Former President Bill Clinton greets supporters at a campaign office for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Ankeny, Iowa, Feb. 1, 2016.
Photo by Andrew Harnik/AP

Tales from the trail: Bill Clinton’s 2016 impact apparent on the rope line


Want to know what the NBC News Embeds saw? Follow their daily journey to the inside of the 2016 presidential campaign here:

Bill Clinton’s 2016 impact apparent on the rope line

LACONIA, N.H. – The rope line halted, and those here waiting to shake the hand of former President Bill Clinton were left waiting.

And waiting.

Instead of briskly greeting the potential supporters, Clinton was frozen in a serious conversation with two undecided voters, Alex Mercous, and Dan Dilorenzo, for almost ten minutes.

Though they came to the event on Tuesday undecided, Mercous and Dilorenzo suggested they were leaning towards supporting Bernie Sanders. But they wanted to learn about Hillary Clinton’s plan to combat cancer before making their final decisions.

“Does she have a plan?,” Mercous says she asked the former president.

Bill Clinton’s response?

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“It was a very big conversation,” Mercous told NBC News after the exchange. The two said Clinton talked about the human genome, and said the future held a lot of promise for being able to cure and prevent cancer.

“He talked about his friends who’ve done research and it was a very big conversation,” Mercous said.

Dilorenzo, who is battling cancer, gave his recap, noting “the reality is cancer has touched everybody in this world.” He continued, “It touched him just like it’s touched us so it’s a point of very passionate discussion for a lot of people.”

The two said their access was “pretty amazing,” but, reflective of many Granite State voters who want to study the candidates before making a final decision, they were not ready to commit to the former president’s wife.

“After the talk, he provides a very good argument,” Dilorenzo said with a smile. A

An argument made on a rope line, where a former president and what he hopes will be his wife’s constituents, engaged in a public conversation about a very personal issue.

“I’ve been affected by a lot of cancer in my life,” Mercous said, before pointing to the man beside her, “including him.”

– Shaquille Brewster following Bill Clinton

Trump trumps school for some New Hampshire students

EXETER, N.H. — Donald Trump packed the house here - but many of his attendees were breaking the rules to be there with him.

The teal-painted room at the Exeter Town Hall, adorned with painted pineapples, packed between 400 to 500 people. Before as the rally began, the fire marshall cut off any more people from entering the room - to the detriment of supporters, revelers, and reporters, alike. But in the room, students like Connor Singh, 17, who attends Phillips Exeter boarding school, came despite not being old enough to vote and not necessarily agreeing with Trump’s views.

Citing his unique opportunity to see all of the candidates as they come through the state ahead of February 9, Singh told NBC that “a lot of people are skipping class right now to be here.” On his part, Singh says he had his mom call in sick for him “so I’m all good” but that students are allowed a certain number of unexcused absences.

Clarifying this to me on Twitter, Phillips Exeter tweeted that “perhaps” some students were skipping class “but many instructors are using this as required class-time to allow students to be part of NH primary season.”

– Ali Vitali covering the Trump campaign

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