Oct 6, 2016 4:41 PM
NH1 News Political Director
SANDOWN – Donald Trump denied Thursday night that a town hall style event he headlined was a rehearsal for Sunday evening's second presidential debate with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
The GOP nominee's showdown Sunday in St. Louis with Clinton is a town hall style debate.
Thursday's event had all the trappings of a warm up session. There was an audience full of questions, a moderator, timing cards, and top advisers watching from the wings.
But twice during his 45 minutes spent in a jam packed Sandown Town Hall, Trump denied the event was a rehearsal.
"This isn't practice. This has nothing to do with Sunday." Trump said. "I'm here because I love the people of New Hampshire."
Trump fired away at Clinton, claiming she's not really preparing for the debate, but "resting.
Trump said he wants "to be with the people from New Hampshire," adding without evidence that Clinton "wants to rest."
Popular conservative talk radio show host Howie Carr, a longtime Trump backer, read the questions from the audience of invited Trump supporters. NH1 News was first to report that Carr was involved in the town hall event.
And the questions were mainly softballs, far different that what Trump may encounter in Sunday night's debate.
The visit by Trump was his second in a week. He headlined a large rally at the NH Sportsplex in Bedford last Thursday.
NH1 News was first to report on social media Wednesday morning that Trump was returning to the Granite State. The trip was Trump’s fifth to New Hampshire since July’s Republican National Convention and his seventh to the crucial battleground state since he locked up the GOP nomination in May.
The town hall in Sandown where the Trump event was held is the same spot where on June 30 of last year New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie held his first rally in the Granite State after formally announcing his bid for the Republican presidential nomination at an event back home earlier that day.
Christie endorsed Trump days after the New Jersey governor ended his White House bid, after a disappointing finish in New Hampshire's presidential primary. Christie, who now has a top advisory role in Trump's campaign, attended Thursday night's event.
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton teamed up last week with Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, her rival from the primaries, at an event at UNH in Durham. It was Clinton's first trip back to New Hampshire since the Democratic convention in late July.
When asked about some conservatives who are still holding out their support from Trump, the GOP nominee brought up former Gov. John H. Sununu, a vocal Trump critic during the primaries who's now backing him.
"He was tough. He was really hunting for Trump," the Republican nominee said.
"But I very much appreciate that the Sununu family is with Trump," He added.
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