CONCORD, New Hampshire — Incumbent Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) said President Barack Obama can’t campaign with her because “he’s busy in Washington.”
Shaheen’s comments came during the debate here between the senator and former Sen. Scott Brown, hosted by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and NH1’s Paul Steinhauser.
“Senator Shaheen, former president Bill Clinton came here to campaign with you,” Blitzer started off the question to her. “Hillary Clinton is coming next weekend to campaign with you. Elizabeth Warren, she’ll also be joining you on the campaign trail. Here’s the question: Why don’t you want President Obama to come to New Hampshire and campaign with you?”
Shaheen answered by denying that she didn’t want Obama to campaign with her.
“I never said I didn’t want President Obama to come and campaign,” she said. “The fact is, he’s busy in Washington. He’s dealing with the Ebola threat. He’s dealing with the threat from ISIS. I think he’s exactly where he needs to be.”
Shaheen’s performance during the debate was arguably one of the worst by an incumbent Democrat this year. In a sign of how she and her team viewed the debate, despite agreeing beforehand to speak with reporters after the debate, Shaheen and her aides left the premises almost immediately after it was over.
“We’re very happy,” Colin Reed, Brown’s campaign manager, told reporters in the spin room after the debate. Reed was joined by Brown aide Ryan Williams in the spin room. Representatives from the Shaheen campaign and the senator herself took off after the debate.
“You can see there are no representatives from Shaheen’s campaign in here, so it speaks for itself as to how they think the debate went,” Reed said.
When asked to respond to Shaheen’s claim that Obama is too busy in Washington to campaign for her re-election, Williams said: “We would love to see Obama come up here and campaign for Jeanne Shaheen.”
“It would obviously reinforce the fact that she votes with him 99 percent of the time,” Williams said.
“But the fact is, he’s already here,” Reed added. “He’s been here for six years. She’s been implementing all of his policies for the last six years. So whether he comes or whether he doesn’t is irrelevant at this point, because all the policies that she’s been rubber-stamping–all 99 percent of them–they’re already on New Hampshire because of her voting record.”
When Brown was asked if he’d vote to repeal Obamacare, he said he would–before Shaheen interrupted him, making another gaffe.
“I already voted five times to repeal it,” Brown said. “She was the deciding vote. When she says–“
“There were sixty of us,” Shaheen interrupted. “Everybody was a deciding vote.”
“Excuse me,” Brown cut her back off curtly. “Every Democrat voted [for it] and yes, every Democrat was the deciding vote for a terrible bill that’s crushing businesses.”
Shaheen made another gaffe when Blitzer brought up that, “according to the nonpartisan Congressional Quarterly” she has voted with Obama 99 percent of the time. “How is a vote for you not a vote for President Obama and his policies?” Blitzer asked.
“Well, you know, my opponent talks a lot about that survey that he’s always quoting,” Shaheen answered. “In fact, he’s built his whole campaign on that. The fact is, I work and I vote for New Hampshire. That’s what I’ve always done. If you look at that survey, and we’ve got it posted on my website so you can take a look at it, I’m proud of my record.”