That time where I snuck into a Presidential Debate

Last weekend, my university, Washington University in St. Louis, hosted the 2nd Presidential Debate. It took weeks of preparations, a new building, and $5 million to get there, but it was an amazing experience.

While I was not inside the hall during the debate itself, I wanted to share a few photos from my experience and provide some antidotes.

My first experience with the debate was actually almost three weeks ago, when my suitemate, Charles Coccia, and I snuck into the media center under construction.

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The notorious Trump wall went up around the debate site, and on Thursday, we were given a tour of the completed debate site.

It’s crazy how many resources went into the media center: backup generators, high-speed internet for hundreds of reporters, TVs, tents, even a bathroom was constructed in the spin-room specifically for the debate. It will be removed this week.

On Friday, the Budweiser Clydesdales paraded around campus, and then spent the weekend in a stable built outside the debate hall.

By Friday night, several national media outlets set up on campus. CNN, of course, had the largest and most complex setup:

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Several students made signs, everything from “Trump did Harambe” to “Student Debt Sucks” with a Venmo address (He got $300). 

By Saturday, a number of celebrities and dignitaries popped up around campus. I got a selfie with Nigel Farage, the politician who led the Brexit campaign:

And with Wolf Blitzer of CNN:

and with Jake Tapper of CNN:

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and finally with Governor Jay Nixon of Missouri

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Since there were thousands of reporters on campus, everyone gave interviews. I probably talked to at least five media outlets myself.  However, the few Trump students on campus were probably the most sought after by the media.

Campus was completely locked down by police:

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But there were many activities for students:

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Since I didn’t win the ticket lottery, I ended up watching the debate a few buildings over in the DUC.

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Now, I’m not going to comment on what I thought of the debate, that’s content for another blog post in itself. After the debate, I walked over to the access control gates and ignored the intimidating signs:

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That’s where the real fun began. Security wasn’t paying much attention, and I tried my best to appear like I belonged there, so I walked straight past all the security into the debate area.

My first stop was the media filing room, where hundreds of reporters were writing stories on the debate:

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I then moved over to the spin room where surrogates from both campaigns gave interviews to the media:

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My last stop was the debate hall, where I quickly snapped a few photos on stage and at the moderator desk:

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At that point, I was absolutely exhausted and decided to head to bed. Attending WashU during a Presidential Debate was an absolutely amazing experience that I will never forget.

Remember to vote in November!

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