What it was like behind-the-scenes at the Democratic Presidential Debate

Last night Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton faced off in their ninth presidential debate. The scene of the action was Brooklyn, New York, so I packed my bags, got on the subway, and went to see what was going on. And of course, I wrote it all down so all of you could get in on the action, too. It’s time to get political, Gigglers! 

 3:47 pm: It’s time to go to the Democratic Presidential Debate, which is in #Brooklyn! Is this what someone wears to a presidential debate? I figure black works for all occasions, except when meeting Vogue EIC Anna Wintour because she prefers vibrant ~prints~.


4:45 pm: Not even at the debate locale yet and excitement is mounting. A whimsical Hillary vehicle is parked out front.


4:46 pm: Democracy at work! Bernie and Hillary supporters line the walk into the Brooklyn Navy Yard where the debate is being held.


4:50 pm: Lots of security and bomb sniffing dogs to get through before we’re officially inside the area. Anyone else have to physically hold themselves back from petting police dogs?

4:59 pm: Press pass in hand, I settle into the “Press Filing Center.” T-minus four hours until debate time.


5:27 pm: I’ve gotta say, the mood is infectious. The press area is the size of an airplane hangar, in a building adjacent to where the debate is taking place. The room is filled with long tables and huge television screens. Each table is packed with reporters and the TVs are blaring CNN. Everyone is hard at work covering the event for their outlets.


5:42 pm: Debate kickoff time is inching closer and I decide to scope the snack scene. Snacks are important no matter where you are, luckily there are some very patriotic dishes to choose from at the food trucks parked outside. I go for the all-American chicken nuggets and tater tots.


6:32 pm: One of my debate night duties is to (wo)man the HelloGiggles Snapchat (itshellogiggles). Only problem: I have no idea how to use Snapchat. Our social media editor, Lauren Kozak, teaches me (over Google Hangout) the ins and outs of snapping (technology is amazing) and before too long, I’m up and running.


7:16 pm: Less than two hours until the debate and everyone around me is talking about what to watch for on the debate stage tonight.


8:00 pm: An hour to go until the debate, I run into friends and have people to sit with! The media world is small. Of course, we take a selfie.


9:00: It’s go time. The debate is finally starting.


9:13 pm: What’s the mood behind the scenes at the debate? Journalists manically typing and sipping coffee. Democracy at work.

9:22 pm: The first big reaction from the press room is when Clinton says how great it is to be in Brooklyn. Hey, we’re in Brooklyn after all.

9:30 pm: The audience in the debate room is audibly raucous. Which is explained very easily with this tweet:

9:45 pm: We’re 45 minutes into the debate now and here are the biggest things that have happened so far.

1. The candidates were asked by Wolf Blitzer about whether their opponent was qualified to be POTUS.

2. Sanders is pressed on how he would handle big banks, especially after his shaky interview in the Daily News. 

3. Hillary is pressed on why she won’t release the transcripts for the speeches she made for big money.

4.  The candidates squabble on who is tougher on guns. 

5. Also much chatter on minimum wage and whether both candidates support it being raised to $15. Bernie said yes, Hillary’s answer was a little more complicated.

I’m taking notes:


10:05 pm: We’re more than halfway through the debate and Hillary is getting more Twitter air time.


10:07 pm: Bernie Sanders inadvertently says “do do” and everyone in the press room laughs because apparently we’re all 12 and fatigue is setting in.

10:38 pm: The debate is nearing its end and there are so many things that haven’t been brought up yet. The press room is buzzing about them.

10:48 pm: The room was feeling really weary until Hillary threw down the gauntlet and asked why they hadn’t yet been asked about women’s rights.

11:00 pm: The debate is winding down and I have to update my: “what they didn’t debate about notes.” Though there is still so much I wish they’d touched upon, especially immigration and LGBTQ issues.


11:05 pm: The debate is over and it’s time to go home. New Yorkers will have another exciting political day on Tuesday, when they head to the polls for the primary.

Whatever your beliefs, and whoever you’re voting for, the most important thing is that you vote. You can register to vote here, and you can check if you’re registered to vote here

Until next time!

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