Brown criticizes Shaheen on energy, ACA, Boko Haram as he rolls out women’s leadership team
By JOHN DiSTASO, News Editor
MANCHESTER – Republican U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown took the occasion of the kickoff of a “Women for Brown” leadership team Monday to accuse Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of blaming him for the failure last week of her energy efficiency bill.
Brown was reported to have lobbied Republican senators against the bill she co-sponsored with Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman once it became clear that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., would not allow amendments, including a measure to advance the Keystone XL pipeline.
Democrats then blamed Brown for the bill’s demise.
“While I’m driving around in my truck in New Hampshire, I derailed a bill in Washington? I have this amazing power, I guess,” Brown told about 30 women gathered at his office in Manchester.
“When things are broken in Washington, what do they do?” he asked. “They blame everybody else.”
Brown also criticized Shaheen for backing the Affordable Care Act, which he called “disastrous.”
He said it is “hurting women-owned businesses” and will hurt them more when the law’s group business mandate takes effect next year, “after the election,” Brown noted..
“If you don’t’ think it’s going to hurt women-owned businesses as well as every other business in the state, you’d be mistaken,” Brown said.
Shaheen, he said, “had a chance to fix it and she chose not to.”
Brown also said business owners, including women, are upset with “over-regulation and over-taxation.”
He said the incumbent “failed to act” on Boko Haram, the group that now has 276 Nigerian girls held hostage.
Brown said that as a senator from Massachusetts two years ago, he tried to have Boko Haram declared a terrorist organization, but the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on which Shaheen sat, as well as the State Department headed by Hillary Clinton, did not make the declaration.
“And now they’re doing hashtag politics,” he said. “A tweet is apparently how you respond to these things right now.”
The Shaheen campaign did not respond to requests for comment for this report.
Unlike the Democrats, who focus on issues specific to women, such as paycheck fairness and abortion in criticizing Brown and Republicans in general, Brown Monday followed the GOP approach of focusing on more general issues his party says will improve life for all Americans, including women.
Senate records show that during the six-month period from April 1 to Sept. 30 2012, Brown employed 27 men and 18 women in his Senate offices, while Shaheen employed 20 men and 24 women.
The average salary for the women working in Shaheen’s offices was $23,938, while the average salary for men in her offices was $26,135.
The average salary for men in Brown’s offices was $22,598 and the average salary for women in Brown’s offices was $30,947.
Jane Lane, one of three co-chairs of the Women for Brown leadership team, told the attendees before Brown spoke, “Don’t let yourselves get tied into what the Democrats call the ‘War on Women. ’Don’t even use that phrase. They don’t know they’re talking about because Republicans do care about women, just like they care about all people.”
While there may be a “war on women” in Sudan and Nigeria, Lane said, “There’s nobody waging war on us over here.”
Brown’s women’s leadership team includes 22 women, headed by long-time party stalwarts co-chairs Lane, Julie Brown of Rochester and Maureen Mooney of Merrimack.
Brown took no questions from the media, but after the event, Mooney said Brown showed an understanding of women’s needs in the economy by focusing on businesses and student debt.
“Every mother in the world is wondering how are they doing to pay for the cost of these inflated tuition bills,” she said. “That’s a very women-oriented issue.
“There are circumstances I don’t think women are treated equally, it’s true,” she said.
But, she said, “The ‘war on women,’ I interpret that to mean that Republicans are suppressing women. That’s just not true.
“I see it as a political statement to try to message out that the Republicans are anti-women,” she Mooney.
Polling has consistently showed Shaheen far ahead of Brown among women.
But Mooney said, “We’re working on that, and as the word goes out form this day forward, hopefully we will deal with that. Shaheen has not really been a friend to citizens of New Hampshire, let alone women.”
Earlier, Lyndsay Robinson, who graduated Saturday from Saint Anselm College after being the student body president for 2013-2014, called Brown a “principled” leader.
Robinson, who is headed to UNH Law School, wrote an opinion piece praising Brown published in today’s NHJournal.com.
She volunteered on Brown’s 2010 U.S. Senate campaign in Massachusetts, then served in his Senate office in Boston and worked on his unsuccessful 2012 U.S. Senate campaign.
Mooney said Brown “can win in the fall,” “is not a puppet to his political party” and “he’s around..he’s talking to the voters.”
As for Shaheen, Mooney said, “If you want to catch a glimpse of here perhaps there’s a high-end fund-raiser in Manhattan or California you can attend in order to talk with her.”
Lane said, “This is probably not the first campaign you’ve worked on for Scott Brown. We crossed the border and did it before and we’re ready to do it again.”
Brown praised his wife of more than 30 years, Gail Huff, noted that he also has two daughters, who he said are “hard-charger, over-achievers,” including former “American Idol” contestant Ayla, who, he said, was the captain of her high school’s boys football team. Arianna, he said, is headed to veterinary school at Cornell.
He said he had a “rough” relationship with his mother, a single mother, but she taught him work ethic.
Brown called Shaheen “a good person, but she’s become ‘Washtonian-ized’—if that’s even a word — where she’s voting 99 to 100 percent of the time with the President. She’s not looking out for the values of the people of New Hampshire.
“It’s going to be a fun summer – in a weird sort of way,” Brown told his supporters..