• Politics

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, Odd Couple, Present College Plan in New Hampshire

3 minute read

Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders promoted a plan for debt-free college at a campaign event in Durham, New Hampshire, on Wednesday, marking the second joint appearance on the campaign trail for the two former Democratic primary opponents.

The democratic socialist from Vermont, who famously gave Clinton a scare early in the Democratic primary by defeating her badly in New Hampshire, returned with her to the Granite State to help his former in the election against Donald Trump.

Sanders and Clinton discussed the merits of their college plan, which would make public colleges and universities tuition free for any student from a family making under $125,000 a year. Students who already have debt would be able to refinance their loans at a lower interest rate.

“Paying for college shouldn’t be so hard that it prevent you from getting your education,” said Clinton.

“This is a revolutionary proposal for the future of our country with wide-reaching implications,” said Sanders. “It means that students will not be leaving college with outrageous levels of student debt.”

For Sanders and Clinton, who famously have Yin-and-Yang temperaments and share little aside from a begrudging mutual respect, their appearance together was a marker in how much has changed since the competitive primary months.

Gone were the biting attacks, eye-rolls and fervid policy spats that marked much of the Democratic primary. Instead, as Clinton and Sanders discussed a plan that would make public colleges free for 83% of students, they traded the microphone like a reluctant couple.

Clinton thanked Sanders for his support. He wiped his brow and adjusted his socks. He addressed her formally with the honorific as “Secretary Clinton,” she called him by the familiar “Bernie.” When they left the stage, she lingered to take selfies while the famously peremptory Sanders stood close to the curtain, apparently itching to leave.

The two had different college payment plans during the drawn-out primary—Clinton supported debt-free college, Sanders was in favor of no tuition at all—but the two huddled in the weeks after Clinton won the nomination and agreed on a compromise in July.

Their joint plan was key for Clinton to win Sanders’ endorsement before the Democratic convention, according to aides who spoke with TIME.

Still, their approach to discussing the college plan was marked by many of the differences they had during the primary. The event was billed as a “debt-free college” discussion, complete with a backdrop printed those words. But Sanders repeatedly spoke of “tuition-free college” while Clinton stuck closer to the script.

Clinton’s original plan called on states to lower costs and on lenders to refinance loans, as well as lower interest rates. Sanders called for tuition-free college for all. Clinton’s lines tended to hew closer to her original proposal. Sanders gave a version of his stump speech, even referring to Clinton’s campaign as “this campaign.”

Still, Sanders promised that under a Clinton presidency he would help push any bill through the Senate, committing to being a steadfast partner if she were to win the White House.

“I am a member of the Health, Education Labor and Pensions Committee,” he said. “This legislation will go through that committee and I can assure you, make no mistake about it, I will work with President Clinton to make sure that this legislation is passed as quickly as we possibly can.”

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com