DSCC - Union Leader: Ayotte Changes Tune on Pledge

THE PROMISE. Gov. John Lynch's spokesman said last week that Republican Ayotte promised the governor she would serve her full, four-year term if the Democratic chief executive reappointed her.

 

Ayotte appears to have given different responses on that issue.

 

In an interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader on Tuesday, Ayotte did not deny that she made such a promise to the governor.

 

"Clearly, the intent was to continue serving," Ayotte said, "but I think in fairness, no one could have predicted the changes that have occurred on the political landscape."

 

But in a separate interview with The Telegraph of Nashua, Ayotte reportedly "said she never promised to serve out the full term, and alluded to the wild changes in New Hampshire politics in 2009."

 

If Ayotte was referring to Sen. Judd Gregg's decision not to seek reelection as one of the changes in the political landscape, his announcement actually came a month before she made the alleged promise to the governor. Gregg said in February, when he accepted President Barack Obama's nomination as commerce secretary, that he would not seek another term. Gregg did not change his mind on a reelection bid after withdrawing as the commerce nominee.

 

 

New Hampshire Union Leader: John DiStaso's Granite Status: Democrats trying to link Ayotte to Palin

JOHN DISTASO 7/8/09

http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=John+DiStaso%27s+Granite+Status%3A+Democrats+trying+to+link+Ayotte+to+Palin&articleId=56d3dbda-c60b-4e16-8722-4d05a1dc5e17

 

TWO OF A KIND? Outgoing Attorney General Kelly Ayotte continued to attract much political attention in New Hampshire and Washington yesterday as Democrats compared her to Sarah Palin and a Republican backer set up a support group on Facebook.

 

Ayotte, who announced on Tuesday she will resign as attorney general effective July 17 to explore a run for the U.S. Senate in 2010, began to attract a different kind of attention than she had been accustomed to in her top law enforcement role.

 

Democrats ripped Ayotte in a Web ad that compares her to Palin. Both women resigned their positions within the past week, but Palin, unlike Ayotte, has not given any definitive word on her future plans.

 

The Web ad, set to background music of the old song "Two of a Kind," charges, "Less than 100 days after promising to serve out her term as New Hampshire Attorney General, Kelly Ayotte broke her pledge to the public in order to advance her own political career."

 

The ad asks if "Kelly 'Cut and Run' Ayotte just pulled a "Sarah Palin' and then shows Palin announcing that she will resign as governor.

 

The ad charges both Ayotte and Palin "put politics before the public," and asks, "How can we trust they won't do it again?"

 

THE PROMISE. Gov. John Lynch's spokesman said last week that Republican Ayotte promised the governor she would serve her full, four-year term if the Democratic chief executive reappointed her.

 

Ayotte appears to have given different responses on that issue.

 

In an interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader on Tuesday, Ayotte did not deny that she made such a promise to the governor.

 

"Clearly, the intent was to continue serving," Ayotte said, "but I think in fairness, no one could have predicted the changes that have occurred on the political landscape."

 

But in a separate interview with The Telegraph of Nashua, Ayotte reportedly "said she never promised to serve out the full term, and alluded to the wild changes in New Hampshire politics in 2009."

 

If Ayotte was referring to Sen. Judd Gregg's decision not to seek reelection as one of the changes in the political landscape, his announcement actually came a month before she made the alleged promise to the governor. Gregg said in February, when he accepted President Barack Obama's nomination as commerce secretary, that he would not seek another term. Gregg did not change his mind on a reelection bid after withdrawing as the commerce nominee.

 

The Washington-based Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, through spokesman Eric Schultz, said, "Nothing has changed in New Hampshire since March when Ayotte was reappointed attorney general."

 

Last week, however, both former Sen. John E. Sununu and former Gov. Stephen E. Merrill announced they would not run for Gregg's seat next year.

 

Ayotte has said she made her decision to run over the Independence Day weekend.

 

THE LYNCH AND OBAMA PROMISES. Republicans pointed out that both Lynch and President Obama made similar promises not to run for higher office in the past.

 

Republicans pointed out that in June 2003, Lynch, who was then the chairman of the state university system board of trustees, told the Union Leader, "I decided that I'd like to continue my commitment to the university system and higher public education. When I think about how I want to invest my time in public service over the next few years, that is what I would like to do."

 

Lynch ran for governor in 2004 and was elected.

 

Former Gov. Craig Benson said at the time that when he had re-appointed Lynch as a trustee, "He promised he wouldn't run for political office."

 

Republicans also noted that Obama, the day after being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004, told the Chicago Sun-Times, "I was elected yesterday. I have never set foot in the U.S. Senate. I've never worked in Washington. And the notion that somehow I'm immediately going to start running for higher office just doesn't make sense."

 

Obama continued, "So look, I can unequivocally say I will not be running for national office in four years, and my entire focus is making sure that I'm the best possible senator on behalf of the people of Illinois."

 

AYOTTE ON FACEBOOK. State Republican activist Bill Boyd has set up a pro-Ayotte Facebook page entitled Friends of Kelly Ayotte.

 

"The citizens of New Hampshire need Kelly Ayotte more than ever to return sanity back to Washington and balance the shift of power that is occurring," Boyd wrote on the page.

 

In an interview, Boyd said he is working alone and is not affiliated with an Ayotte campaign or "pre-campaign."

 

"In apolitical social circles, I've found her to be very warm, a good listener with an engaging personality," he said.

 

He said he was impressed seeing Ayotte three months ago at the Nashua Market Basket "with a pony tail and baseball hat looking at produce. She is just a very credible person."

 

Boyd said Facebook "is a tremendous social medium to learn who she is as a person and interact with other people to share anecdotal information and to show she has grass-roots support as she makes a decision on whether she wants to run."

 

Boyd said he created the page at 12:30 a.m. yesterday and by 4 p.m., it had 50 members.

 

SINCERE THANKS to the many well-wishers during my extended medical leave. It's great to be back, and, of course, there is never a dull moment in New Hampshire politics.

 

Keep those calls and e-mails coming. I need all the help I can get to catch up and keep up!

 

John DiStaso is senior political reporter of the New Hampshire Union Leader.