THURSDAY, OCT. 9: HILLARY? YES; BARACK? WELL…. Give Sen. Jeanne Shaheen credit for trying to be kind – or at least diplomatic about it – but the point was made.
She’s “delighted” that Hillary Clinton (and her 84 percent approval rating among likely Democratic presidential primary votes) is coming to New Hampshire to campaign for her. But Barack Obama and his 35 percent approval rating (among all Granite Staters)?
Given the crises around the globe right now, “I expect him to be in Washintgon,” she said.
The exchange between Shaheen and MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell quickly became the talk of politics today.
A quick sampling national story leads:
NBC: “A top Democratic Senate candidate says the president should probably stick to his day job in Washington instead of coming to campaign for her.”
The Hill: “Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) on Thursday declined to say a campaign visit by President Obama would be helpful, saying he should be in Washington dealing with ‘crises.’”
Shaheen and Mitchell began by talking about Shaheen’s new TV ad blasting opponent Scott Brown for supporting legislation in Massachusetts in 2003 and 2005 that would have required women to be provided with photos and information about their fetuses before being able to receive an abortion.
Mitchell then asked Shaheen, “I want to ask you about President Obama because he hasn’t been campaigning in a lot of states. People have not been inviting him. Would you rather have President Obama campaign for you or one of the Clintons?”
Shaheen answered, “We have Hillary Clinton coming up and former President Clinton is going to be here next week for the (state Democratic Party’s) Jefferson-Jackson Dinner. They will be here and I’m delighted to have their support and helping us. At this point in the campaign, we want to turn out everybody we can. New Hampshire has a very big percentage drop off between the presidential year and non-presidential year. What we want is (people) to know there is an election coming up November 4th and get out and vote.”
Mitchell then asked, “And having the President come would not be helpful?”
Shaheen answered, “Well, the President is dealing with a lot of crisis in the world right now. i think it’s important for him to continue to address what’s happening with ISIS and continue to address the Ebola scare. I expect him to be in Washington.”
Republicans, not surprisingly, jumped on the comments.
Brown spokesman Elizabeth Guyton said, “Senator Shaheen may be attempting to distance herself from President Obama today, but she has embraced him and policies at every step during her six years in Washington. Last week, President Obama said that ‘every single one’ of his policies are on the ballot this November, and Senator Shaheen has supported every single one of those policies.”
Shaheen, meanwhile today, continued her “A New Hampshire Senator Women Can Trust” tour with stops in Peterborough and Keene, hitting Brown on the same anti-women theme. She will campaign on Friday with Maryland U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski in Rochester and Somersworth.
View her exchange with Andrea Mitchell below.
(Earlier Granite Reports follow.)
WEDNESDAY, OCT. 8: HUGE HAULS. Republican Scott Brown’s U.S. Senate campaign raised more than $3.6 million in the third quarter that ended on Sept. 30, a campaign adviser told the New Hampshire Journal.
At the end of the second quarter, on June 30, Brown’s campaign had reported raising a total of $2.38 million since he became a candidate.
With $3.6 million raised from July 1 through Sept. 30, Brown raised a campaign total so far of about $6 million.
The campaign did not have an end-of-the-third-quarter cash on hand figure available. The report is not due to be filed publicly until later this month.
Brown’s third quarter fundraising figure is believed to be the highest ever for a U.S. Senate candidate in a third quarter.
He raised about $100,000 more than Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s campaign in the three-month period but she has far out-raised him in total.
Shortly after the Brown fund-raising disclosure, the Shaheen campaign announced it raised $3.5 million in the third quarter and also had $3.5 million in cash on hand as of Sept. 30.
As of the end of the second quarter, she had raised a campaign total of $9.6 million — $2.7 million in the second quarter alone – and reported cash on hand as of June 30 of $5.1 million.
As a result, Shaheen’s total raised so far in the campaign is more than $13 million.
A Brown adviser said in a statement that Brown’s third quarter fundraising total “is the latest indicator of Scott Brown’s growing momentum and the strength of Scott Brown’s campaign. It is clear his message is continuing to resonate as he contrasts his message of being an independent voice for New Hampshire versus Senator Shaheen’s record voting 99 percent of the time with President Obama. People in New Hampshire know that a vote for Senator Shaheen is a vote for the continuation of the Obama agenda.”
There was no immediate statement issued by the Shaheen campaign.
(Earlier Granite Reports follow.)
TUESDAY, OCT. 7: ROMNEY TO CAMPAIGN WITH BROWN. The day before former President Bill Clinton rallies Democrats at the state party’s annual Jefferson-Jackson fundraiser, 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney will appear with GOP Senate challenger Scott Brown.
Romney formally endorsed Brown for the Senate seat in July, even while Brown was involved in a primary race. Romney then backed him in a television ad released last month by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Details of the Oct. 15 Brown-Romney appearance are being developed.
(Earlier Granite Reports follow.)
MONDAY, OCT. 6: ROGERS AND HAVENSTEIN. Michigan U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers will be in New Hampshire on Wednesday to campaign with GOP candidate for governor Walt Havenstein.
Also Monday, officials confirmed that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will return to the state on Friday, also to campaign with Havenstein. It will be Christie’s fourth visit to the state since the spring and three of those visits have been for Havenstein.
Christie chairs the Republican Governors Association.
Rogers is a former FBI agent and current seven-term House member who announced earlier this year he will not seek reelection and will instead host a radio talk show next year.
On Wednesday morning, Havenstein and Rogers will hold a Law Enforcement Roundtable at Harvey’s Bakery in Dover to discuss crime issues affecting New Hampshire. State Senate candidate (I’m sure you know, but Mike Rogers is a former FBI agent). State Senate candidate Eddie Edwards, chief of the South Hampton police, will attend.
Rogers will also host a fundraising lunch for Havenstein at the Copper Door restaurant in Bedford.
(Earlier Granite Reports follow.)
FRIDAY, OCT. 3: GOP: THANKS, MR. PRESIDENT. Go figure.
Back in June, when she filed for reelection, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen made this point:
“I think people are going to make their decision based on whose name is on the ballot. President Obama is not on the ballot. This is about who is going to best represent the voters of New Hampshire in Washington.”
And since that day, she has been gearing her entire campaign away from a President, who still, by all objective measures, is unpopular here and throughout the country.
The competing messages of the Democrats and Republicans have continued through the summer and to this day. Republicans are trying to “nationalize” the races. Democrats are trying to localize.
That’s happening throughout the country and New Hampshire is a prime example.
Not a day – no, probably not an hour – goes by when Scott Brown doesn’t remind votes that Shaheen “voted with President Obama 99 percent of the time.”
The story is the same in the congressional races – the same message from Republicans Frank Guinta and Mrilinda Garcia regarding Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Ann Kuster, respectively. The two Republicans say the incumbents are Obama clones, foot-soldiers. The Democrats are running as friends to New Hampshire, especially to the middle class and to small business. They portray the two Republicans as clones of the Tea Party.
But then came Thursday, and the President, with 28 words, gave the Republicans enough fodder to keep their message going full steam until Election Day.
Toward the end of a 54-minute speech on the economy, in which he offered details of what he viewed as his accomplishments and plans, the President took a page from the GOP playbook:
“Now, I am not on the ballot this fall. Michelle is pretty happy about that. But make no mistake: These policies are on the ballot — every single one of them.”
So there it was. For the Republicans, it was an endorsement – by the man himself — of everything they’ve been saying since the beginning of the year: that this mid-term election is a referendum on Obama.
Obama, whose approval rating is in the 35 percent range in New Hampshire. Obama, the President the Democratic candidates have been running away from.
In fairness, Obama was not referring to his most controversial policies – foreign policy, national security and immigration.
“These policies,” as Obama meant it, were the policies that have the nation in a slow upward recovery. He said his policies have resulted in a slowdown of the rising costs of health care. He said “prudent spending cuts, health care reform, and asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little bit more on their taxes” has cut the federal deficit “by more than half.”
He also pushed for raising the minimum wage, ensuring equal pay for women and requiring paid family leave for workers, which he said would continue to help the economy. These are generally popular positions among all but the staunchest Republicans.
But, despite Obama’s attempt to put his domestic policies in a framework for the mid-terms in order to help the candidates in the individual states, the GOP was pleased that those 28 words played into its hands.
“Some not-so-great news for 2014 Democrats ,” wrote the Republican National Committee. “President Obama just nationalized all of their races. As President Obama made clear by declaring that his agenda was on the ballot this fall, a vote for a Democrat is a vote for him and his failed policies.”
The RNC quickly put out a 30-second video of Obama speaking those 28 words and wrote that it has “folks like Kay Hagan, Mark Begich, Mary Landrieu, Mark Udall, Bruce Braley, Jeanne Shaheen, Alison Lundergan Grimes, Mark Warner, Michelle Nunn, Mark Pryor, and countless other Democrats cringing right now.”
Indeed. Shaheen’s Republican challenger, Scott Brown, was among the first Republicans to put out a video Friday morning, entitled “What It’s About.” And according to the video, taken from his appearance in Derry in the summer with John McCain, it’s about Obama.
“I know he’s not up for reelection,” he said at the event, captured in the ad. “But his number one foot-soldier is.”
Throughout the country, many Republicans followed did the same, including Pat Roberts in Kansas and Mitch McConnell in Kentucky.
“For that footage, we thank you Mr. President,” National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brad Dayspring said in an email to supporters.
In New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District, Republican Marilinda Garcia went up with a TV ad at an opportune time – a day after the Obama speech. It was pure coincidence, but played into the narrative that Kuster is a strong supporter of the President.
While the ad is positive, with no mention of Kuster, the message is clear: “I’ll be an independent leader that fights for the issues that matter to New Hampshire,” she says in the ad. Click here to view it.
STAYING ON MESSAGE. The Shaheen camp and the state Democratic Party said nothing about the Obama comments, trying to just get past the setback.
And Hillary came to the rescue. It was even bigger news Friday that Shaheen had Hillary, a far more popular booster than Obama, on the way on Nov. 2.
It was no surprise that Hillary Clinton’s camp disclosed that she’s including a stop in New Hampshire, to campaign with Shaheen and Gov. Maggie Hassan, on her mid-term tour. And two days before the election is big, showing just how important it is to Clinton that Shaheen win and be in office when she returns again – and again – in 2015.
And luckily for Shaheen, this news distracted attention from the Obama comments, at least for a day.
And while Clinton may not be popular among Republicans, the latest University of New Hampshire Survey Center poll, taken in July had her being viewed favorably by 87 percent of likely voters in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary.
Shaheen, who was named one of the “10 Most Vulnerable Senators” in the nation by Roll Call this week, continued Friday to try to build on her already strong base of support among women and attacked Brown as someone who, while saying his is pro-choice and pro-equal pay for women, did not support those policies while in the Senate.
In Concord, she was joined by Cecile Richard, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, for a major event.
“I’ve spent my career fighting for women’s health care and reproductive rights, and this November, we have decades of progress for women on the line,” said Shaheen. “Scott Brown has voted to roll back that progress and supported almost every anti-choice initiative in front of him; he co-sponsored and voted for the Blunt Amendment that would let bosses make decisions about their female employees’ health care, and this year, he applauded the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision. New Hampshire women can’t trust Scott Brown to stand up for their reproductive rights.”
Brown’s camp countered by disclosing his endorsement by the Republican Majority for Choice PAC. Not on the same level as Planned Parenthood, but it was a way to attract undecided pro-choice moderate women to his cause.
“To protect the right to choose there must be pro-choice leaders within both parties, and Scott Brown has proven he is willing to cross the aisle on important issues,” said Susan Bevan, a national co-chair of the group.
She pointed out that as a senator Brown supported funding for the Title X family planning program and “fiscally responsible Planned Parenthood funding.”
“We cannot continue to push a one-party monopoly on women’s reproductive health and freedom,” she said.
Candace Straight, also a group co-chair, said, “It is clearly a Democratic Party strategy to distort all Republicans’ records on choice because they cannot run on their own records on jobs and the economy.”
Shaheen also on Friday put up her own web video, attacking Brown’s alleged “incredible hypocrisy” on border security, exploiting a report that he missed all six Senate committee hearings on border security when he was Senator.
View the ad below.
Expect these competing narratives to continue right up until Election Day, which is, yes, just a month from today.
AMERICAN CROSSROADS POLLING. The American Crossroads super PAC announced on Thursday that it will spend $3 million in New Hampshire television ad buys in one-week’s time beginning on Oct. 14.
No sooner was the massive buy announced that we received word that the group commissioned a poll of Granite Staters – most likely to message test for the ads.
Granite Staters we heard from said the lengthy survey focused on the Senate race.
Included were questions about terrorism and ISIS. One question, we were told by someone who was polled, invoked the name of the late James Foley and actually used the term “beheading.”
(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 NHJournal.com as news breaks. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @jdistaso.)