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Shaheen Retreats, Removes 'War On Women' Ad Against Scott Brown From Airwaves


Matthew Boyle

October 15, 2014


Incumbent Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) withdrew from television false ads attacking former Sen. Scott Brown in the vein of the infamous 2012 "war on women" theme. 


"Shaheen unveiled a commercial Monday that said Republican Scott Brown wants to take away insurance coverage for birth control and force women to look at color photographs of fetuses before they can get abortions," Politico's James Hohmann wrote on Wednesday, adding though that just a couple days later now Shaheen has abandoned the strategy.


"Her campaign has decided to sub that out on Thursday for a new spot that's called 'For You,' shared first with POLITICO, that shows the senator talking straight to camera," Hohmann wrote. "It will be the only Shaheen ad running on WMUR-TV and New Hampshire cable as of Thursday, according to a source tracking the air war."


The ad that Shaheen pulled included a false statement that Brown, as a Massachusetts state senator, backed legislation that would "force" women to look at photographs of fetuses before getting abortions.


"On issues important to women, what's Scott Brown's record?" a narrator said in that Shaheen campaign ad. "In Massachusetts, Scott Brown pushed for a law to force women considering abortion-force them-to look at color photographs of developing fetuses. Scott Brown wants the government to tell women how to make this decision. Anti-choice groups in Massachusetts endorsed Scott Brown and women there voted him out. Scott Brown: not for New Hampshire."


Local New Hampshire news outlet WMUR, which obtained a copy of the legislation, found that the bill did not contain language that would "force" women to do things Shaheen said it would.


"The referring physician, the physician performing the abortion, or either the physician's agent must provide ... color photographs or ... realistic drawings of the developing unborn child," the text of the bill, as reported by WMUR, reads.

WMUR noted that Brown's campaign "points out that nowhere in the legislation is there any language requiring women to actually view those pictures."


At the same, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) launched a bizarre attack on Brown, twisting his words to say he was "sexually active at 18."


Brown hammered Shaheen and the Democrats at a press conference last week right before an event focused on foreign policy-an issue, alongside immigration, that Brown has campaigned on to enormous success-for hurting women with her false attack ads.


"For Sen. Shaheen and her allies to suggest otherwise in the way that she has is just shameful," Brown said about his support for women. "It reminds me of what Martha Coakley tried to do when she said I would not allow women who are raped to be able to have the care and services they needed. Just as shameful. Sadly, the National Democratic Party is resorting to these scare tactics not only here, but across the country because that's all they have left. Now you all know, we're helping obviously fund the stations, but there's been a lot of negative ads, but this one absolutely crosses the line, and it's from her. She's standing behind this ad, just as I stand behind my ads."


Brown said then she should pull the ad, which she wouldn't-until now, when she's seen a negative hit in the polls.


"And I'm focusing on the issues that people are talking about and you're writing and reporting about," Brown said then.


"Because we are, right now, talking about a sensitive and tender topic. Shame on Senator Shaheen, for playing politics with women. I will continue to talk about the issues that affect all voters, both men and women that have to do with our national security, our economic security."


New Hampshire GOP chairwoman Jennifer Horn said that Shaheen pulling the ad is akin to "waving the white flag" of surrender-an admission she was being dishonest, and paid the political price for it.


"Jeanne Shaheen's smear campaign has backfired and her desperate attempt to deceive voters is an embarrassing failure," Horn said in a statement. "Granite Staters are smart enough to see though Jeanne Shaheen's negative and dishonest political tactics and realize that she is desperate because she knows that she is losing."


The pulling of the ad now is a remarkable and sudden shift by a struggling Shaheen campaign that comes after polling data shows she actually fell behind Brown for the first time in the race overall, and slipped with women, since she went on the offensive.


The new poll, from New England College, of 1,081 likely New Hampshire voters conducted on Oct. 9 found Brown is leading Shaheen 48 percent to 46.9 percent. The 1.1 percent lead is within the 2.98 percent margin of error, but it's the first time in 2014 Brown has been shown to be leading Shaheen in any poll. This new poll shows Brown has actually picked up a point and a half with women voters since the previous New England College poll on Oct. 3. The previous poll showed Brown getting 41.9 percent of female voters-while the new poll shows Brown getting 43.1 percent among female voters.


A Brown campaign adviser told Politico that support Brown picked up among female voters is a direct result of Shaheen's failed "war on women" attack.


"It's clear that Jeanne Shaheen's smear campaign isn't working, and she continues to lose ground and fall behind," the Brown adviser said. "She can't escape the fact she voted with the president 99 percent of the time."


Shaheen's campaign fired back through spokesman Shripal Shah to say, "That's nonsense," and Democrats provided

Politico's Hohmann with internal polling-which is always favorable to the candidate for whom it is done-to argue Shaheen is up six points.


"The most recent internal poll conducted for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, released earlier Wednesday, shows Shaheen up 6 points, 50 percent to 44 percent," Hohmann wrote.


This all comes as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney campaigned for Brown on Wednesday-he's already made other trips to the Granite State for Brown this year-to ride the Brown momentum wave and help him further it.


"Scott Brown knows what it takes to keep the economy growing, while Jeanne Shaheen has voted to open the door for a national energy tax and supports President Obama 99 percent of the time," Romney said at the energy policy focused event for Brown. "We need an independent senator who will fight for New Hampshire and that person is Scott Brown."






Concord - Today, the New Hampshire Republican State Committee launched robocalls and a web campaign regarding Governor Hassan's reckless mismanagement of the New Hampshire budget and highlighting her past support for a disastrous income tax: 


"Governor Hassan has completely failed to properly manage the New Hampshire state budget," said New Hampshire Republican State Committee Chairman Jennifer Horn. "She clearly cannot get her own administration's spending under control and it's clear that new taxes will be the only option given her recklessness. With Governor Hassan's past support for an income tax, New Hampshire's middle class should be gravely concerned about what's in store for a second Hassan term. It's time to replace Maggie Hassan with Walt Havenstein, a responsible Republican who understands how to balance a budget, create jobs and grow our state's economy - and will never support an income tax."


The transcript of the robocall is below:


"Hi, this is Emily. Even though New Hampshire is facing a budget shortfall, Governor Hassan's administration has requested an 18 percent spending increase for the next fiscal year. There's no way to meet Hassan's demands with existing revenues, and the only solution will be to raise taxes. Given her history of repeated support for an income tax in our state, it's clear that she will need an income tax to pay for her lavish spending. Keep New Hampshire income tax free by calling Governor Hassan at 271-2121 to say that the spending must stop! Paid for by the New Hampshire Republican State Committee, Robert Scott, Treasurer."




Hassan refused to support a State Constitutional Amendment to ban an income tax. "National taxpayer groups are being invited to join New Hampshire's debate over a proposed state constitutional ban of an income tax... Hassan is opposed."(John Toole, "NH Debate On Income Tax Heats Up," The Eagle-Tribune, 9/23/12)


"She also opposes a constitutional amendment that would prohibit an income tax In New Hampshire."(Sarah Brubeck, "Health Care Key Issue For N.H. Gov. Candidate Hassan," Valley News, 10/20/12)


Hassan admits that there are circumstances under which she would support an income tax. ""I would only support an income tax if it repeals the statewide property tax" (Lara Bricker, "Hassan takes issue with mailers," Portsmouth Herald, 11/1/02)



Concord - New Hampshire Republican State Committee Chairman Jennifer Horn today blasted the Shaheen campaign's response to calls for the Senator to denounce an attack launched by Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis on her opponent's physical disability. Shaheen's chief counsel Judy Reardon dismissed Davis' despicable attack despite that fact that Senator Shaheen has raised money for the disgraceful Davis campaign.


"Only a dishonest politician who is devoid of any moral standards would devise, approve and double down on an attack on a political opponent's physical disability. Jeanne Shaheen raised money to fund this ad, and her decision to deploy her senior advisor to try to dismiss this abhorrent attack is outrageous," said NHGOP Chairman Jennifer Horn. "Jeanne Shaheen is running her own smear campaign in New Hampshire, and she has made it clear that she is a desperate Washington politician who approves of negative and dishonest political attacks."


NHDP - NHGOP Sends Out Baseless and Misleading Attack Mailers

Hits Guinta by Mistake

Manchester, NH – Using misleading and baseless attacks that independent fact checkers have previously dismissed as “ridiculous political games,” the NHGOP sent out a negative mailer in NH-01 that inadvertently dings Guinta by mistake as well. 

The Washington Post gave the charge “Four Pinocchios,” and described the misleading and baseless attacks as nothing more than “poison pills … in order to use as campaign-attack political fodder.” And in an desperate attempt to distract from Frank Guinta's unpopular and extreme Tea Party agenda, the NHGOP's misleading and baseless attack also hits Guinta's record by mistake. [Democratic Budget Alternative, Sec 402Vote #150,  3/29/12].

“In a desperate attempt to distract from Frank Guinta's extreme Tea Party record, the NHGOP is sending out misleading mailers using baseless attacks that independent fact checkers have dismissed as nothing more than 'ridiculous political games,'” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Deputy Communications Director Bryan Lesswing. “Granite State voters will see through the NHGOP's misleading and baseless attacks, and reject Frank Guinta's extreme Tea Party record on women's health, support for privatizing Social Security and Medicare, and push to abolish the Department of Education.”



Shaheen Has Raised Funds for Despicable Davis Campaign


Concord - New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman Jennifer Horn called on Senator Jeanne Shaheen to denounce Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis for running a despicable ad attacking Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. The Washington Post reports that Davis is running an ad attacking the Attorney General's disability. Senator Shaheen hosted a campaign fundraiser for Davis at an exclusive Capitol Hill restaurant in July 2013.


"Wendy Davis has set a historic low by attacking Attorney General Abbott's disability and Senator Shaheen should be ashamed of her support for her disgusting campaign. Senator Shaheen has raised money to fund this despicable ad, and she should immediately call for Wendy Davis to take it down," said NHGOP Chairman Jennifer Horn. "In New Hampshire, Senator Shaheen has run a dishonest smear campaign to distract from her record of voting with President Obama 99 percent of the time. In Texas, Shaheen's endorsed candidate has launched one of the most despicable attacks in modern political history by targeting her opponent's disability. Voters will reject desperate politicians like Jeanne Shaheen and Wendy Davis in November because they are sick of their negative and dirty campaign tactics."