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NHDP - Portsmouth Herald: Brown-bagging it on Granite State campaign trail

Key Points: “Granted, Brown's decision to tweak the state motto once more at his official announcement on Thursday was not a gaffe, but it did feel like the work of an intellectual lightweight in search of a sound bite… Really, Scott Brown? It's your big day. You're officially announcing your candidacy for the United States Senate. And this is your money line?”

“When Shaheen challenged him take the same pledge in 2014 — stop the presses — he declined. In the old days that was called flip-flopping. As in, he was for limiting the influence of deep-pocketed special interests launching attack ads before he was against it.”

“But I definitely don't want a senator who, when asked by The Associated Press whether his Bay State baggage might be a problem for Granite State voters, responded, ‘Do I have the best credentials? Probably not. Cause, you know, whatever.’"
Portsmouth Herald: Brown-bagging it on Granite State campaign trail
By John Breneman
April 13, 2014
PORTSMOUTH — Some say Scott Brown's bid to weasel his way back into the Senate by moving north from Massachusetts is doomed because Granite State voters will see him as a "carpetbagger."
But others feel New Hampshire may jump at the chance to elect a handsome pickup truck-driving senator who as a young man posed nude in Cosmopolitan and who even inspired a "Saturday Night Live" skit about how sexy he is (with "Mad Man" stud Jon Hamm playing Sen. Brown).
This means Jeanne Shaheen, whose deep Granite State political roots include three terms as governor prior to her 2008 election to the Senate, is not dealing with just any carpetbagger.
To paraphrase the esteemed political pundit Austin Powers: "He's a shagadelic carpetbagger, baby!"
Unfortunately for Brown — a one-time Republican rising star who famously won "Ted Kennedy's seat" in a 2010 special election before losing his job to Elizabeth Warren — his much-anticipated announcement Thursday night at the Sheraton in Portsmouth was preceded by several vintage gaffes.
"Live Free AND Die," Brown says in one video clip, butchering his new home state's signature motto, "Live Free or Die" — words that underscore New Hampshire's reputation for having a skeptical, independent-minded, politically savvy electorate.
Perhaps he was tired from his whirlwind move from Wrentham to Rye, but he's also on video telling a reporter he believes Granite State Republicans are thankful for his efforts to "raise awareness as to the issues that are affecting people not only here in Massachusetts, uh, in New Hampshire ...;"
Granted, Brown's decision to tweak the state motto once more at his official announcement on Thursday was not a gaffe, but it did feel like the work of an intellectual lightweight in search of a sound bite.
Playing off his top talking point — brain-dead blather about how Jeanne Shaheen and Barack Obama are destroying America and stealing our freedom by helping millions of people obtain health coverage — he dropped this zinger.
"It forces us to make a choice: Live free or log on."
"Guess what? In New Hampshire, we choose freedom."
Really, Scott Brown? It's your big day. You're officially announcing your candidacy for the United States Senate. And this is your money line?
I'm sure that will resonate with the tea-flavored Kool-Aid crowd, but I doubt most intelligent New Hampshire voters, whatever their political leanings, spend much time complaining about how Jeanne Shaheen is taking away their freedom.
According to a newspaper up in Coos County, Brown was visiting the home of GOP state Rep. Herb Richardson, railing about Obamacare being a horrific "monstrosity," when Richardson — a Republican, mind you — responded that the controversial law had been a "financial lifesaver" for him and his wife.
Now candidate Brown must be scrambling to figure out his position on New Hampshire's likely move to use governmental action to expand health coverage for lower-income residents. That's a big no-no for the folks most likely to pour millions into his campaign war chest, and for those looking to fund anti-Shaheen attack ads as Republicans try to reclaim a majority in the Senate.
But you can't fault Mr. Brown for putting most of his eggs in the "Obamacare is evil" basket.
After all, Obamacare has the word "Obama" in it. And in our current sickly dysfunctional political climate, all Republicans must vigorously oppose all things connected to Obama as anti-American, or risk being "primaried" by more conservative opponents.
At least that scheme tops the one he used the last time he tried to beat a woman for a Senate seat. Running in 2012 against Warren — a brilliant and passionate fighter for regular Americans in a system now rigged to benefit only the rich — his main strategy was to mock her for claiming she was part Native American. (Retroactive spoiler alert: She scalped him.)
In that race, Brown challenged Warren, and she agreed, to take a "People's Pledge" promising to limit the outsized, some say insidious, influence of corporate cash that has transformed modern-day politics.
When Shaheen challenged him take the same pledge in 2014 — stop the presses — he declined. In the old days that was called flip-flopping. As in, he was for limiting the influence of deep-pocketed special interests launching attack ads before he was against it.
Perhaps Scott Brown will pick up his game. He's trying to score a few Brownie points — reminding local folk that he was born at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Given his propensity for gaffes, I half expect him to share a heart-warming anecdote about going with his grandfather to open his first savings account at Strawberry Bank.
However, he still has a track record of odd statements that raise doubts about his honesty and intelligence, such as boasting that his experience in the Senate included "secret meetings" with "kings and queens."
Now, I don't want to be accused of stereotyping people who've posed for sexy pictures in national magazines. And perhaps it is not my place to suggest that in Mr. Brown's case, the emperor — I mean, former Massachusetts senator — has no clothes.
But I definitely don't want a senator who, when asked by The Associated Press whether his Bay State baggage might be a problem for Granite State voters, responded, "Do I have the best credentials? Probably not. Cause, you know, whatever."
My senator doesn't have to be an Einstein, but I do want representation in Washington from someone I believe is both smart and sincere.
Scott Brown seems like a very nice man with a very nice family. Nice pickup truck. Nice barn jacket. Nice smile. Nice carpet bag stuffed with tattered talking points and odd remnants.
But for me, perhaps the biggest question about Scott Brown — that rare politician to successfully transition from stripping for Cosmo to posing for Politico — is this.
How did he get those chiseled, super PAC abs?
Herald columnist and copy editor John Breneman can be reached at @MrBreneman).



NHDP - NEW VIDEO: Web Video Lays Out Major Issues Surrounding Walt Havenstein

Maryland Multimillionaire Either is Ineligible to Run or Committed Tax Fraud


Concord, NH-- Walt Havenstein, Washington Republicans' hand-picked candidate for Governor, plans to formally announce his candidacy this week, without having addressed the residency and tax issues surrounding the Maryland multimillionaire. The NHDP's new web video lays out for New Hampshire voters the fundamental problems with Havenstein's candidacy.

"Granite Staters don’t know much about Walt Havenstein or what he stands for, but this web video highlights what we do know: either he is ineligible to run for Governor in New Hampshire or committed tax fraud in Maryland," said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley. "Havenstein's campaign hasn't even left the gate, yet the hand-picked candidate of Washington Republicans has already shown that he is willing to break the rules to be elected Governor.

"Granite Staters trust and support Governor Hassan because she is a strong, bipartisan leader who is focused on solving problems in order to strengthen our middle class and move our economy forward," continued Buckley. "Walt Havenstein, on the other hand, has only been able to demonstrate that he believes the rules don't apply to him, and the people of New Hampshire can't trust him to stand up for our priorities," concluded Buckley.

Click here to watch the new web video and see below for the transcript.
News clip
Maryland multimillionaire Walt Havenstein wants to be Governor of New Hampshire…
But why New Hampshire?
News clip
Havenstein’s primary residence was in Maryland as recently as 2012…
And even though he says he "can't recall" signing the application, he took a tax break worth thousands of dollars that is only available to Maryland residents…
He really likes Maryland small businesses
Speech clip
And the state of Maryland in general
Interview clip
He may not even be eligible to be governor here, New Hampshire requires Governors to be residents for 7 years
Now he wants us to think he's been a New Hampshire resident the whole time…
But if he lived in New Hampshire, he misled Maryland on taxes…
So which is it – Ineligible to run or tax fraud?
Havenstein can't have it both ways.


Nashua Telegraph expose outlined how Walt Havenstein took Maryland property tax breaks that required his principal residence to be in that state, raising a host of questions and placing his candidacy in doubt.

The Telegraph uncovered that Havenstein “saved $5,354 from 2008-11 by getting a homestead exemption from local property taxes in Bethesda, Md. He also paid a lower state property transfer tax while buying the property in that state. To get both, Havenstein had to acknowledge that his $1 million condominium was his ‘principal residence' where he was living at least seven months of the year." [Nashua Telegraph3/23/14]
Under Maryland law, ”Principal residence” has been defined to mean the “one dwelling where the homeowner regularly resides and is the location designated by the owner for the legal purposes of voting, obtaining a driver’s license, and filing income tax returns.” [MAPM, accessed 4/2/14]
Maryland law was enacted in 2007 that requires all homeowners to submit an application stating that they meet the principal residence requirements, under penalty of perjury. According to the Telegraph, “Havenstein said he didn’t recall signing that form.” [State of Maryland, accessed 4/2/2014Nashua Telegraph3/23/14]
A few weekends ago, a Nashua Telegraph report emphasized Havenstein's problems stating that he was either "ineligible to run for the office or committed tax fraud in Maryland." [Nashua Telegraph3/31/14]

That same report found that in addition to registering a car in Maryland, Havenstein briefly held a driver’s license in that state. New Hampshire doesn’t allow someone to hold a valid driver’s license in this state while having an active license in another state. [Nashua Telegraph3/31/14, State of New Hampshire, accessed 4/2/14]

NHDP - Scott Brown Launches "One Word" Campaign With More of the Same Phony Attacks

“Scott Brown made it clear last night that his entire campaign is about tearing down New Hampshire’s Jeanne Shaheen with phony attacks about Obamacare. Brown also made clear, once again, that he's in this race for himself, and his Big Oil, Wall Street buddies, not New Hampshire." 


– Julie McClain, NHDP Communications Director







Brown: “I Helped Write” The Massachusetts Health Care Reform Bill. During a debate in Springfield in January 2010, Brown said, "I worked on the health care bill. I helped write it. I played a role. It passed unanimous and in a bi-partisan manner including with Senator Kennedy.” [Springfield Debate, 1/8/10]


·         REPORT: Brown Was “prominent in working on the state’s landmark universal health coverage law.” [Milford Daily News2/11/07]


·         BROWN: The Senate Health Care Bill Is “really mirroring what we did a couple of years ago through Governor Romney’s leadership.” [Think Progress, 2/4/10]



NH Insurance Department Said Flawed Survey Showing 90% Increase In Individual Premiums Was False. Insurance Department Spokesman said Morgan Stanley survey was “inconsistent with our findings, which reflect single-digit increases per year over the past few years.” [New Hampshire Union Leader, 4/7/14]


·         PINDELL: 90% Claim Based “on one anonymous person’s opinions.” [WMUR, Political Scoop, 4/9/14]


FACT: BROWN’S ACA “DECIDING VOTE” CLAIM HAS BEEN RULED FALSE OVER & OVER AGAIN BY INDEPENDENT FACTCHECKERS Said Ads That Said Various Senators Were Deciding Vote For ACA “Push[ed] The Bounds Of Accuracy.” In June 2012, wrote: “The 60 Plus ad against Nelson also claims that he ‘was a deciding vote for the health care law.’ That’s a stretch. We suppose any vote for the law could technically be called a ‘deciding’ one, but Bill Nelson wasn’t a pivotal vote any more than any other senator. It was another Nelson — Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska — who was one of the last senators tosign on to the bill and give Democrats enough votes to pass it, a fact that Bill Nelson highlighted on his Facebook page. Other ads, including several from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have claimed that other lawmakers — Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Brown of Ohio and Jon Tester of Montana — ‘cast a deciding vote’ for the law. We think it pushes the bounds of accuracy to say anyone who voted for it was ‘a deciding vote.’” [, 6/10/12]


PolitiFact Reiterated That “The Charge That This Or That Democrat Cast The Deciding Vote For The Affordable Care Act” Has Repeatedly Been Rated “False.” “The charge that this or that Democrat cast the deciding vote for the Affordable Care Act has shown up before. In June, a conservative group leveled it at Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla, (PolitiFact Florida rated that Mostly False), and in 2012, a Republican challenger made the same claim about Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio (PolitiFact Ohio rated that False). The reality is that if any Democratic senator deserves the distinction of clearing the way for the health reform law, it is Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska. As was widely reported at the time, Nelson delivered the 60th vote needed to send the bill to the floor for a vote.” [PolitiFact, 10/9/13]


·         PolitiFact: “The reality is that if any Democratic Senator deserves the distinction of clearing the way for the health reform law, it is Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska.” [PolitiFact, 10/9/13]


·         NRSC Admitted That Sen. Nelson Was the 60th Vote for Healthcare Reform. "In reality, the last Democratic senator to commit to the health care bill was Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who’s likely to have an even tougher reelection race next year than Tester. (In fairness, the NRSC calls him the '60th vote' too.)" [Politico3/23/11]



NEARLY 22,000 Granite Staters Signed Up For Insurance Through The ACA Marketplace, About 15% Over The State’s Enrollment Goal. “The nearly 22,000 who had signed up through the federal marketplace exceeded the Obama administration's target of 19,000 for the six-month enrollment period that ended March 31.” [Associated Press, 4/10/14]


REPORT: ACA Enrollment In NH “Could Approach 30,000” After March Numbers Were Tallied. “The number of people in New Hampshire who have signed up for health care under the Affordable Care Act could approach 30,000, officials said. About 10,000 people in the state signed up during the last two months, the result of a highly organized outreach effort. […] Karen Hicks of Covering New Hampshire said an enrollment outreach campaign produced significant results. ‘We feel pretty good about our effort so far,’ Hicks said. ‘At the end of February, we had 21,500 or so people sign up and select a plan.’ The total could be around 30,000 after the March numbers are tallied up.” [WMUR, 4/2/14]



NHDP - ICMYI: AFP Running Misleading Attacks Deemed FALSE

With the Americans for Prosperity Freedom Summit rolling into town this weekend, it’s important to remember that AFP has a history of using Koch Brothers Big Oil money to run misleading, and often false, negative and nasty attack ads.


Politifact: Americans for Prosperity claims people are getting less at a higher cost under Obamacare
Americans for Prosperity has been active on the airwaves already this election cycle. The group, which opposes Obamacare, has run a handful of ads featuring people telling health care "horror stories" meant to tug on the heartstrings. We’ve looked at a couple andexplained how they can be misleading.  

But a pair of new ads take an entirely different tack to undercut support from Democratic Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Udall of Colorado. (It has also run against Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., and Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark.)

In these ads, a woman on screen trashes political ads in her 30-second personal pitch.

"People don’t like political ads. I don’t like them either. But health care isn’t about politics," she says. "It’s about people. And millions of people have lost their health insurance, millions of people can’t see their own doctors, and millions are paying more and getting less."

We’ve tackled claims about lost insuranceand access to personal doctors before. But we haven’t heard someone say that the health care law is causing people to pay more for less, so we decided to check it out.

Paying more

There are a lot of factors in the health care law — and health insurance in general — that make it difficult to pin down whether people are paying more or less for coverage.

In general, insurance premiums were increasing every year well before Obamacare became law. In fact, rates have increased consistently during the last 15 years. But there are signs that the rate of the increase has declined since the law was passed.

Kaiser Family Foundation, for example, surveyed people who purchase insurance through their employer. Here are the average annual cost of premiums:

Year Single % increase Family % increase
1999 $2,196   $5,791  
2000 $2,471 12.52% $6,438 11.17%
2001 $2,689 8.82% $7,061 9.68%
2002 $3,083 14.65% $8,003 13.34%
2003 $3,383 9.73% $9,068 13.31%
2004 $3,695 9.22% $9,950 9.73%
2005 $4,024 8.90% $10,880 9.35%
2006 $4,242 5.42% $11,480 5.51%
2007 $4,479 5.59% $12,106 5.45%
2008 $4,704 5.02% $12,680 4.74%
2009 $4,824 2.55% $13,375 5.48%
2010 $5,049 4.66% $13,770 2.95%
2011 $5,429 7.53% $15,073 9.46%
2012 $5,615 3.43% $15,745 4.46%
2013 $5,884 4.79% $16,351 3.85%

Other than a sharp increase between 2010 to 2011, the Obama years have experienced the smallest rate increases of the last 14 years. Throughout much of the early 2000s, premium increases of 9 percent or more were the norm.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid also found a slowdown in the increase in health costs during the last four years, including a modest 4 percent increase from 2011 to 2012.

The government attributed the decrease in health costs to the economic downturn. Kaiser, too, said the recession accounted for much of the decline, though they said the health care law may have played a role, too.

Because of the law, people making up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level are now eligible for subsidies to buy insurance, and for many of them, costs are going down. Those costs are capped at a percent of their income.

But some people may see rate increases on existing policies or as they transition to new plans.

Insurers can no longer deny individuals with pre-existing conditions, and there is now a much larger pool of people looking to purchase coverage. For younger, healthier people, this means they are now taking on some of the financial burden so older or sick people can buy insurance at a reasonable price. (This is especially true for young males, since young women were often charged more, and even more so if they don’t qualify for premium subsidies.)

There were also people who previously purchased very cheap plans. But those policies provided very little coverage or capped their benefits at low levels, which the new health care law bars. So they’re getting more coverage, albeit at a greater cost.

Getting less?

Which gets us to our next point.

We found it strange that the ad claimed that people are getting less under the Affordable Care Act. In fact, we’ve usually heard the opposite from critics of the law that people are now paying for types of coverage they don’t need.

The favorite example is single men who now will now have maternity coverage if they buy a plan on the individual market. In October 2013, Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., grilled Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius on this very point.

"An insurance policy has a series of benefits whether you use them or not," Sebelius said during her testimony on the Hill.

"And that is why the health care premiums are increasing this high," Ellmers said. "We’re forcing them to buy things that they will never need."

"Individual policies cover families. Men often do need maternity coverage for their spouses and for their families," Sebelius responded.

"To the best of your knowledge, has a man ever delivered a baby?" Elmers asked. The discussion ended there.

So are you getting less coverage, or getting more than you need? We asked Americans for Prosperity to clarify their position.

"Getting less speaks to a multitude of data points that has been America's Obamacare experience so far: botched website, shrinking provider networks, a string of broken promises, missed deadlines, and unilateral rule changes that have kept the entire country in limbo ever since this debacle rolled out," said spokesman Levi Russell.

That’s a pretty ambiguous definition of "less." We think most people would assume "less" is referring to the amount of coverage or benefits under the law.

Americans are getting more benefits under the law in a number of ways -- including, in some cases, being able to buy affordable insurance for the first time.

In addition, insurance purchased in the individual and small group marketplace must meet 10 essential health benefits. This includes coverage for emergency services and hospitalization, prescription drugs, free preventative coverage for things ranging from basic immunizations to HIV screening, and maternity care.

The law also caps out-of-pocket costs, providing greater protection from exorbitant hospital bills. The most a person could pay for health care in a year is $6,300; the most a family can pay is $12,600.

Before the law passed, some insurers capped annual or lifetime benefits, forcing people who thought they were covered to pay large hospital bills once they passed the threshold.

People with pre-existing conditions are also seeing a lot more benefits, since they previously couldn’t buy a policy at all.

So it’s a tough sell to say millions are getting less. And for many, they aren’t paying more, either.

Our ruling

Americans for Prosperity said "millions are paying more and getting less" under Obamacare. We found their explanation of "less" rather dubious. Most people on the individual market are getting more benefits under the law. At worst, they’re paying more to get more, though in many cases they’re actually paying less.

We rate this claim False.


NHDP - Granite State Democrats Launch Statewide Grassroots Push By Holding Series of County Summits

Concord, NH-- The New Hampshire Democratic Party is announcing the launch of its statewide grassroots training program to unite volunteers, activists, and community members dedicated to electing strong, Democratic leaders across the state. Over the next month and a half, Democrats from across the state will meet to partake in training sessions ranging from persuasive neighbor-to-neighbor communication strategies, tactics to maximize a social media presence, and effective fundraising methods. The series kicked off last Sunday with an extremely enthusiastic and successful summit in Concord.

"There are less than seven months until Election Day, and New Hampshire Democrats are excited. They don't want to let a single day go to waste," said State Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. "At the first summit this past weekend, Democrats from the Concord area proved their dedication and enthusiasm by devoting their time and energy to making sure we have the best possible team to spread our message across the state."

At each summit, the trainings, discussions, and presentations are led by staff representatives from the State Party's communications, political, and finance offices. Attendees of the summits are provided with materials and contact information to ensure all local grassroots organizations have access to resources they need to build and develop winning campaigns.

"The high level of excitement and engagement my staff and I saw at this weekend's summit is very encouraging. Democrats across the state understand the importance of this year's election and are committed to working tirelessly over the next 200 days to make sure that all the progress our state and country has made isn't reversed by Republicans," Buckley concluded.

Upcoming Grassroot Summits:

Rockingham County Summit

April 26th
Sullivan County Summit 
April 26th
Coos County Summit
May 1st
Strafford County Summit
May 3rd
Carroll County Summit
May 8th
Manchester Summit
May 10th
Cheshire County Summit
May 10th
Nashua Summit
May 12th

Grafton County Summit

May 17th 

Additional Upcoming Democratic Grassroots Activites:
  • 6 platform hearings scheduled this spring across the state
  • The "Young Democrats State Summit"

Concord area democrats at last weekend's Grassroot's Summit.