AMHERST – Scott Brown, picking up the endorsement of a prominent conservative activist Wednesday morning, said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s support for the Affordable Care Act and President Barack Obama’s agenda shows she is “out of touch with the people of New Hampshire.”
Former House Deputy Majority Leader Steve Stephanek of Amherst said that while he views himself as more conservative than the former Massachusetts senator, he believes that Brown is the only GOP candidate capable of defeating Shaheen in November and that Brown, representing New Hampshire, will vote in a more conservative way than he did while representing Massachusetts.
Also at a small gathering at Amherst landmark Moulton’s Market, Hillsborough County Commissioner Carol Holden pledged her support for Brown and promised to take him to visit “all 23 towns” she represents.
In an interview, Brown said Shaheen has been “disingenuous” in her opposition to the medical device tax because she initially supported it when she voted for the Affordable Care Act. She voted both for and against repeal of the tax in separate votes in 2013. In 2012, she signed a letter asking Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to delay implementation of the tax.
“Well,” said Brown, “you should have read the bill.”
Overall, he said, “Some people are affected by the high costs of Obamacare, others are affected by the lack of ability to keep your doctor and your hospital and being forced to travel longer distances.
“And seniors are affected by the three-quarters of a trillion dollars of cuts in Medicare,” he said.
Brown also noted ski resort operators have said they may be forced to cut their seasons short in order to avoid the costs of Obamacare.
Although the Obama administration has said that with 8 million sign-ups, the Affordable Care Act is a success, Brown said, “It’s not about signing up. When you mandate something, people either sign up or they get fined.
“It’s about who is paying for it? It’s a question of having access. We don’t have access in New Hampshire.”
Stepanek acknowledged that being staunchly pro-life, he does not agree with Brown’s pro-choice stance.
But he said, “As Reagan said, if you can agree 80 percent of the time, then you should be supporting that Republican.
Stepanek that while Brown is being criticized by Second Amendment activists, “When you look back at what he did as a state senator in Massachusetts, when he was in a more conservative district, it was much more in line with New Hampshire.
“But I have to say that as a U.S. Senator, he was representing Massachusetts and he was cognizant of that,” Stepanek said. “He was representing the people who had elected him. I think that given the opportunity to represent New Hampshire and our more conservative voters up here, that he will in fact surprise a lot of people.”
Stepanek, who was a strong supporter of former House Speaker Bill O’Brien, said he will work to grow conservative support for Brown, who faces primary opposition from former staste Sen. Jim Rubens, former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith and conservative activist Karen Testerman.
Brown said President Obama should have taken a tougher stance against Vladimir Putin on the Ukraine crisis.
He said Obama should have told Putin “we’re canceling our military cuts and may even consider increasing our military spending.”
On the foreign policy front, he said, “we have a long way to go” to rebuild credibility.
Brown said that when the President continues to “draw red lines in the sand” and then not adhere to them, “it’s a problem. Our foreign policy is being challenged right now. We need to have our allies trust us and our foes fear us or at least respect us.”
While Shaheen is accusing him of being in the pocket of “big oil,” for opposing a 2012 bill to end subsidies for oil companies, Brown said the vote “was a bipartisan rejection (four Democrats voted with 47 Republicans against ending subsidies). Both Democrats and Republcians rejected that ability to change the tax law for one industry that would have affected so many people in the middle of a recession” by resulting in high gasoline prices. “It makes no sense.”
Brown has said he opposes subsidies for the ethanol industry and has called for a comprehensive approach to dealing with energy subsidies.
Also Wednesday, the conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity began airing a new television ad criticizing Shaheen’s support for Obamacare, which, the ad alleged, will cause health premiums to rise and will require some Granite Staters to driver longer distances to visit a doctor or hospital.
AFP reportedly is paying $457,000 to air the ad on a local television station.
Shaheen campaign manager Mike Vlacich told the Washington-based Roll Call in a statement, “”We know the Big Oil Koch Brothers (the founders of AFP) are prepared to spend millions to buy Scott Brown our Senate seat. Here is more proof.”