Granite Reports Update: Rubio, Brown to focus on Iraq in talk with veterans

FRIDAY, OCT. 3: MID-EAST POLICY TO BE DISCUSSED. When Florida Sen. Marco Rubio returns to New Hampshire on Tuesday to campaign with Republican U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown, the two will focus on President Barack Obama’s policy in the Middle East, and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s support for that policy.


Rubio, a possible 2016 presidential candidate, will appear with Brown in Derry at mid-day. The venue is still being finalized.


According to a Brown adviser, the two will hold an event with veterans for a discussion that includes Shaheen’s “support for President Obama’s withdrawal of our troops from Iraq, which has led to the condition we find ourselves in today. They will contract their views with the views of Obama and Shaheen.”


Rubio, like Shaheen, is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


(Earlier Granite Reports follow.)



THURSDAY, OCT. 2. EVENT FOR GARCIA. A Nashua luncheon next Tuesday, Oct. 7, for Republican 2nd District U.S. House candidate Marilinda Garcia will feature Texas Gov. Rick Perry and will mark the first time Garcia’s two former GOP primary foes will join her for an event.


The fundraiser will be held at the Nashua Country Club at mid-day and in addition to Perry, a potential 2015 presidential candidate, will feature Gary Lambert and Jim Lawrence, who were defeated by Garcia on Sept. 9. Lambert has since been named chair of Garcia’s Veterans Coalition.


Perry will be in the state for two days next week – Oct. 6 and 7 – to speak at a “Politics and Eggs” event at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, to campaign with candidate for governor Walt Havenstein and to appear at the Belknap County Republican Committee’s Lakes Region Harvest Festival.
The Belknap County event will be held on Monday evening at the Sanbornton home of Bill and Faith Tobin.


The New Hampshire Journal last week reported that Perry endorsed Garcia and would appear  an event for her in Nashua.


An invitation obtained by the Journal says the luncheon is being hosted by prominent Nashua businessman Jack Tulley and his wife, Brenda. In addition to Lambert and Lawrence, the host committee includes former state Reps. Steve Stepanek, Pamela Price and Pete Silva, former state Sen. and current lobbyist Bob Clegg, current state Rep. Dick Hinch and Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra Ziehm.


Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, another potential 2016 presidential candidate, is also scheduled to be in the state on Tuesday to campaign with Republican U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown.


THURSDAY, OCT. 2: HELPING CAROL. Former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank will be in New Hampshire on Oct. 14 as the featured guest at a fund-raiser for U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter at the home of Mike Schwartz and Sharyn Potter in Rye.


Frank, who served in the U.S. House with Shea-Porter for most of her time in the House, has helped Shea-Porter in past elections.


Tickets for the event range from $50 to $2,500.


(Earlier Granite Reports follow.)


WEDNESDAY, OCT. 1: ABOUT THOSE HEARINGS…. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen today accused GOP challenger Scott Brown of hypocrisy after a report that he missed five hearings of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee while serving in the Senate.


Brown has accused Shaheen of being uninformed on border security issues and in favor of amnesty, which Shaheen has denied. Shaheen has also been criticized by Brown and the GOP for missing about half the hearings of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee she serves on during the past two years, including one at which the rise of the Islamic State was discussed.


“Scott Brown’s incredible and outrageous hypocrisy is just the latest example of how his rhetoric is entirely disconnected with reality. New Hampshire voters can’t trust anything he says,” a Shaheen spokesman said.


Brown spokesman Elizabeth Guyton responded, “Unlike Senator Shaheen, Scott Brown has a strong record working to secure the border and is not confused about the threats facing our nation. Senator Shaheen, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, cannot distract from the fact that she missed numerous meetings related to terrorism, including a critical hearing a year and a half ago about a new group called ISIS that was emerging. Instead, she blindly supported President Obama, who admits he too was not paying adequate attention to ISIS.”



WEDNESDAY, OCT. 1: “HAPPY” ANNIVERSARY. While it has receded from the top of the public agenda in recent months, the Affordable Care Act is still an issue in campaign 2014 – at least the Republican candidates think so.


On the one year anniversary of the launch of, Republican nationally and in New Hampshire took the occasion to renew their criticism of what they view as a failed system and the Democratic officials who supported it.


Republican 1st District U.S. House candidate charged the web site debuted a years ago today “with a thunderous flop.”


“The failure of the ObamaCare website is nothing compared to the failure of the law to keep healthcare costs down and let families keep the plans they were promised,” Guinta said. “Carol Shea-Porter’s inability to look at ObamaCare objectively, recognize its flaws and work to replace it with a program that works is devastating New Hampshire.”


Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown again blamed Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.


“As bad as Obamacare has been over the last year, the worst is yet to come when the employer mandate takes effect,” he said. “This burden is creating uncertainty, and preventing small businesses from growing, expanding and hiring more people. It’s a wet blanket on our economy. It’s important to remember that Obamacare wouldn’t be the law of the land without Senator Shaheen who cast the tie-breaking vote.”



The National Republican Senatorial Committee launched a fundraising web video that featured several Democratic Senators, including Shaheen, praising the ACA.
WEDNESDAY, OCT. 1: MITT AND SCOTT, HILLARY AND JEANNE. Scott Brown’s campaign today revived 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s endorsement of Brown back in July in a new web video entitled “Simon Says.” The video was shot when Romney first backed Brown at the Scamman Bittersweet Farm in Stratham.


It was timed to coincide with Shaheen’s fundraiser, featuring Hillary Clinton, in New York City tonight.


Click here to view the Brown campaign video.



WEDNESDAY, OCT. 1: BURNS: “POLITICAL HACKS.” Republican District 4 Executive Council candidate Bob Burns minced no words about those the current and past governors nominate and the councilors approve for state positions on a community access television program this week.



He calls them “insider political hack-type people” in a program that aired in Manchester on Monday. And he doesn’t distinguish between parties, singling out Commissioner of Resources and Economic Development Jeffrey Rose, a Republican.



He also accuses Planned Parenthood of employing unskilled staffers who “hand out birth control like candy.”



Burns is taking on Democratic incumbent Chris Pappas in the District 4 race.



His comments came on the community access program “Education Matters,” which is a product of New Hampshire Families for Education, a self-described political action committee “dedicated to preserving local control and advocating for increased family involvement in education.”
In Monday’s program, the host and AnnMarie Banfield of Cornerstone Action interview Burns for about 30 minutes.


The comments about gubernatorial nominees begin at the 11:30 mark of the video available here. The remarks about Planned Parenthood begin at the 22:45 mark.


A spokesman for Planned Parenthood could not be reached Wednesday night.


WEDNESDAY, OCT. 1: MORE BIG SPENDING. Politico and the Boston Globe reported tonight that American Crossroads, the super PAC co-founded by Karl Rove, is reserving $3 million of time in New Hampshire for the week of Oct. 14. The group has polled New Hampshire but has not yet aired advertising.
It is expected that the advertising will attack Sen. Jeanne Shaheen on behalf of challenger Scott Brown.


(Earlier Granite Reports follow.)



SATURDAY, Sept. 27: ROMNEY III? No, it still doesn’t look that way.
When reports surfaced earlier this week that Mitt Romney may in fact be considering a third try at the presidency, it may have caused a buzz in Washington, but according to two top, long-time Granite State Romney supporters, there was not a stir here in the state that sent him on his way to the GOP nomination in 2012.



Romney, according to a report Thursday in the Washington Examiner, “is talking with advisers, consulting with his family, keeping a close eye on the emerging ’16 Republican field, and carefully weighing the pluses and minuses of another run. That doesn’t mean he will decide to do it, but it does mean that Mitt 2016 is a real possibility.”



The report goes on to say that Romney’s “circle of advisers, finance people, and close aides remains intact” and Romney speaks with them often about the news of the day and, yes, the Republican field as it’s shaping up — and Hillary Clinton.



Just as with the speculation this week about Jeb Bush, centrists Republicans continue to search for a candidate, not particularly pleased with the staunch conservatives who now appear ready to enter – Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio and even Bobby Jindal.



Jindal and Huckabee were both in the state in the past few days. Both spoke to a private evangelical meeting called “Pastors and Pews.”
Jindal, who appears much more certain about running than Huckabee, also addressed that private event and then did two campaign stops with candidate for governor Walt Havenstein on Friday before heading to Washington and then first-caucus state Iowa.



As we’ve reported, in early October, Perry and Rubio will be back, and then Rubio will be back again in late October.



(Hillary? The betting is she’ll be here, too, before the Nov. 4 election to help her friends, Jeanne Shaheen, Maggie Hassan and Carol Shea-Porter. Ann Kuster? Probably, although she was a Barack Obama supporter from the get-go.)



So for the Republicans that’s four potential 2016ers less than two weeks, and of course, just a week ago, the only centrist potential candidate in the field, Chris Christie, was here for a third time. Christie chairman of the Republican Governor Association, will be back – probably several times – before Nov. 4. Count on it.



But what about Romney? He’s continued to make it clear he’s not running, but the Examiner report this week seemed valid – that it’s not a fair accompli that he’s out.



So what about it?



Again we went to Tom Rath, who is very close to the former Massachusetts governor, as he has been to the Bush family. And we went to Jim Merrill, who ran Romney’s campaign in New Hampshire in 2008 and was a top adviser in 2012.


Neither see it happening.



“He will be very visible in the remaining weeks of the mid-terms,” Rath said. “There is a lot of demand for him from candidates. But that does not alter his core position, that he’s not going again.”



“That doesn’t stop folks from hoping,” Rath said, “but there is no indication anything has changed. His friends here remain loyal but are not expecting a change in direction.



Merrill said he considers himself privileged to have worked for Romney, “one of the best men I know,” in both 2008 and 2012.



“Time and again since the end of the campaign, he has been proven right on the issues. It’s no wonder that voters would choose Gov. Romney over President Obama if voting was held today.



“If he decided to run for President again, he would be formidable and I would be proud to stand with him. However, despite speculation concerning a potential run, I don’t think Gov. Romney will be a candidate in 2016. He is a true statesman and a proven leader and has much to offer – I think he will find another meaningful way to support our country.”



THE PARADE CONTINUES. We’ve learned that that plans are being discussed for Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul to return to the state in mid-October to campaign for the state GOP ticket.
Paul was last here just two weeks ago, when he was a guest speaker at the NHGOP post-primary Unity Breakfast.



BILL AND BOB’S EPILOGUE. There’s an interesting epilogue to the controversy generated by the reports this week that Bill and Jeanne Shaheen owned and worked at a souvenir shop in York, Maine that was later – after they sold their interest – investigated for selling stolen jewelry.



It has already been reported that the Shaheens sold their interest in the store to Bill Shaheen’s brother-in-law, the late former state Sen. Bob Fennelly, in the late 1970s. The Shaheens had owned it with Fennelly since 1969.




Fennelly was convicted on two counts of receiving stolen property in 1983. The Shaheens were never investigated or implicated in any wrongdoing. That is clear.



But of note: That was not the end of the Shaheens’ – or at least Bill Shaheen’s involvement — in the store. Records from York County, Maine, show that Bill Shaheen re-acquired the property from Bob Fennelly and family members in 1994, for $105,000. The records also show that in 2006, Bill Shaheen then sold it to Margaret and Robert Fennelly for – nothing. Zero dollars.



Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Just noteworthy.



THE FIRST DEBATE. While the “debate debate” between Jeanne Shaheen and Scott Brown flared up earlier this week, they’ll go at it for real – face-to-face for the first time – a week from Tuesday in North Conway.



The North Conway Grand Hotel will be the setting for the Oct. 6 event sponsored by the Mount Washington Valley Economic Council.



Council executive director Jack Cuddy said he has received confirmation from both candidates.



Early in September, Shaheen campaign announced she accepted invitations to appear in three televised debates. According to Cuddy, she accepted the Economic Council debate last week.



Cuddy said the debate will begin at 12 noon and will be moderated by George Epstein, president and chairman of the Echo Group. He said it is open to the public although admission will be limited to 150 to 175 people.



Audience members will submit questions, Cuddy said, and Epstein “will put then in a format.”



Shaheen and Brown will be given time for responses to the others’ answers and for rebuttals.



The economic council will also host debates between 1st District U.S. House candidates Frank Guinta and Carol Shea-Porter on Oct. 16 from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., also at the North Conway Grand, and between Gov. Maggie Hassan and GOP challenger Walt Havenstein on Oct. 31 at 8:30 a.m. at the Red Jacket Resort.



Brown earlier this week announced he had accepted seven debates and called on Shaheen to expand her schedule.



Shaheen declined an invitation to debate on Monday at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge. The Republican Party accused her of “ducking.”



Brown on Friday announced that he’s going to head to Rindge on Monday afternoon, anyway.



“If Senator Shaheen does not attend, Brown will visit with students, faculty and community members to discuss foreign policy and the rising threat of ISIS,” his campaign said.



Brown campaign manager Colin Reed said Shaheen’s “refusal to debate is a continuation of a pattern she has developed over the last two year. First, she avoided town hall meetings, and now she’s ducking debates.”



LAMBERT BACKS BROWN. Former congressional candidate Gary Lambert first became chairman of Marilinda Garcia’s veterans coalition earlier this week. On Friday, he joined the Brown campaign in the same role.



“Right now, Jeanne Shaheen is supporting President Obama and his failed polices 99 percent of the time,” Lambert said. “I support Scott Brown because we need someone to challenge President Obama when he is wrong, not someone who will just rubber stamp his bad decisions.”



MAIL DUMP. The state Democratic Party is engaged in a direct mail barrage against GOP candidate Marilinda Garcia in the 2nd Congressional District.



In the course of a week, the NHDP has hit mailboxes with three anti-Garcia pieces, all with the same bottom line: “Marilinda Garcia: As Tea Party as Tea Party gets.”



All say she wants to “ban abortion,” privatize Social Security, “eliminate the minimum wage” and make “devastating cuts to public education.”
At the same time, the NRA is involved, supporting her with a direct mail piece says, “You can count on Marilinda Garcia to protect your Second Amendment rights.”



This follows a negative NRA piece last week against Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, saying, “You can’t trust Jeanne Shaheen to stand up against the Obama/(Michael Bloomberg) gun control agenda.”



In a key state Senate race, Democrat Lee Nyquist sent out his first direct mail piece this week – a positive piece with biographical information, a promise to bring “collaboration, bipartisanship and common sense to Concord and to build “a strong education system.” There is no mention of his political party, however. Nyquist is opposing Republican Sen. Andy Sanborn for the second consecutive election.



GOING POSITIVE. Senator Shaheen is out with another ad: this one making no mention of Brown and focusing on her commitment to “battling” for New Hampshire – which has of course been a recurring theme in her campaign as Brown and the GOP try to “nationalize” the race and link her to President Obama.



In the ad, she says, she works “with Democrats and Republicans so our veterans finally get health care close to home.”



“I don’t just talk about putting New Hampshire first, I’ve spent my life doing it,” Shaheen says.”
View the ad below.

(John DiStaso is news editor of the New Hampshire Journal and the most experienced political columnist/reporter in New Hampshire. He has been reporting on Granite State politics since 1982. Watch for updates of his Granite Reports column and of course separate stories on as news breaks. He can be reached at and on Twitter: @jdistaso.)


Author: John DiStaso

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