NH Poll: Race Close, Brown Torches Shaheen Over 'Despicable' Smear Ad

Posted: Oct 09, 2014 10:36 AM

A newly-released New England College poll shows New Hampshire's US Senate race is within the margin of error, with Incumbent Jeanne Shaheen holding a narrow 2.5 percent lead over Republican challenger Scott Brown. A separate UNH/WMUR poll gives Shaheen a wider cushion, 47-41.  Brown's campaign is touting new fundraising numbers as evidence of momentum in the contest, via NH Journal:

HUGE HAUL. 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 tells 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 will have raised a total so far of about $6 million. Brown’s third quarter fundraising figure is believed to be the highest ever for a [New Hampshire] U.S. Senate candidate in a third quarter.

Shaheen's campaign has launched a new television ad attacking Brown on women's healthcare -- which may be straight out of the Democrats' demagoguery playbook, but it's especially peculiar in this race.  Brown is pro-choice on abortion and has even voted with Democrats on protecting Planned Parenthood's federal funding.  But that hasn't stopped Democrats from inventing a stance that Brown has never held.  At a press conference earlier this week, Brown absolutely savaged Shaheen for this distortion, bluntly calling it "despicable" and a lie.  He explained that the legislation Team Shaheen is twisting into "evidence" that he opposes "women's healthcare" or whatever was a bill to encourage adoption that he supported nine years ago, and that never even received a vote:

"I would like to take a minute to talk to you about Jeanne Shaheen’s smear against me and my campaign and the insensitive attack ad that she started running today. It’s not only insensitive, but it’s inaccurate...What Jeanne Shaheen is doing is despicable. Her lies and scare tactics are, quite frankly, disappointing...Since Senator Shaheen does not want to talk about her record of voting with the President over 99 percent of the time, she wants to talk about my record, so I think that’s a good idea, so here are the facts..."

On one hand, I'm heartened to see a Republican candidate refusing to couch his response to a baseless lefty smear in placid rhetoric.  Brown charges directly at this attack, and goes on offense.  On the other hand, I'm disappointed in Brown's embrace of the Left's false framing of the abortion issue.  We can agree to disagree on early-term abortions, but he repeatedly conflates support for abortion and standing up for women.  Being pro-choice is not a litmus test for caring about women's health.  Most American women embrace pro-life limitations on the lethal practice, and are more likely than men to back broad bans on late-term abortion.  Perhaps he forgets that New Hampshire's other female Senator is popular pro-life Republican Kelly Ayotte, whose endorsement Brown has enthusiastically trumpeted. Ayotte won her 2010 race in a blowout,carrying women by double digits. Even as I disagree with Brown on abortion, I'm all for his forceful push back against a deceitful attack that grossly mischaracterizes his position.  He has a compelling personal narrative to share about protecting women in his life.  I just wish he wouldn't cast the pro-life position as coercive, anti-women anathema while doing so.  It's out of step with how most women view the issue, and it risks alienating a large number of voters Brown needs in his camp.  (Shaheen, needless to say, is completely beholden to the abortion extremists who fund and run her party).  Brown is up with a new 30-second spot shaming Shaheen for lying: