GOFFSTOWN -- A marathon CNN town hall event Monday night with five Democratic presidential candidates kicked off with Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.
Later in the evening, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, California Sen. Kamala Harris and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg took their turns introducing themselves to the voters and outlining their visions.
Klobuchar has worked to set herself apart from her primary opponents by establishing herself as the more centrist candidate, championing less-partisan proposals such as a $1 trillion infrastructure improvement plan and pushing back on some of the more radical reforms, such as free four-year college.
But the live studio audience Monday was made up primarily of college students, many of whom are from New Hampshire, which has some of the highest student debt loads in the country.
Monday morning, Warren had set the stage when she unveiled her policy to cancel up to $50,000 of college debt for people earning under $100,000, offering smaller amounts of debt amnesty for those earning under $250,000. Future students would enjoy tuition-free public college. The program would be paid for by a 2 percent tax on millionaires.
Audience members didn't take long to ask about Klobuchar's position on loan forgiveness.
Klobuchar did not go as far as Warren. Instead, she said she would target some debt forgiveness for people going into public service or certain in-demand jobs, and she would bring back President Obama's free community college plan.
She also said she would sign legislation that would enable students to refinance student loans to rates around 3 percent, and expand the Pell Grant program.
But Klobuchar implied other plans are not realistic, saying she wants to "actually get something done" with student loans.
"I have to be straight with you and tell the truth," Klobuchar said.
On the issue of health care, Klobuchar said she would work to preserve the Affordable Care Act and try to lower premiums.
When CNN moderator Chris Cuomo pointed out she was the only senator on the program Monday night who has not co-sponsored the Medicaid-for-All plan, Klobuchar said she wants to find other ways to expand access to health care.
"I want to get to universal health care, and I want to get there fast," she said.
Though Klobuchar has steered clear of some of the more expansive reform proposals, she did say she would support "sweeping legislation" to battle the effects of climate change.
When asked how to make infrastructure a more appealing issue for young people, she said it isn't just about bridges and sewer systems that are crumbling, but it's also about schools and public transit that are crumbling. She pointed to a lack of commuter rail in southern New Hampshire.
At one point, a young black man said his father was not present for the first 13 years of his life because he was serving a sentence for "a nonviolent drug offense," and asked Klobuchar how, as a former prosecutor, she would reform the criminal justice system.
She said the First Step Act is already reducing sentences on the federal level. Next, she said, the government needs to create incentives for state governments to do the same.
Klobuchar also said she is a big believer in drug courts and their role in getting people into treatment instead of prison.
"There is racism in our criminal justice system. There has been racism in our criminal justice system for a long time, and we must pledge to fix it,” Klobuchar said.
The first question during the town hall was about the Mueller report, and whether the House Judiciary Committee should open impeachment hearings against President Trump.
Klobuchar said there need to be hearings in the House and Senate, but she would not suggest her likely ruling on the matter. She said the Senate should act like a jury and weigh the evidence.
Klobuchar has been building out her campaign infrastructure this week. Her campaign announced Monday morning it had recently hired communications director Tim Hogan, national political director Lucinda Ware, national field director Mike McLaughlin and research director Anjan Mukherjee.
Kelsi Browning was named the New Hampshire communications director. Klobuchar also hired a campaign consulting team and a group of media advisers.