Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) officially threw his support behind former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown – now aiming to be a GOP senator from New Hampshire – during a campaign stop at the Pinkerton Academy in Derry last week.
The town hall meeting, part of Brown’s “New Hampshire Speaks” series, focused primarily on foreign policy, making McCain a natural choice as a campaign mate.
The meeting at which McCain appeared was the third in the series. A fourth was held at VFW Post 1698 in Franklin on Aug. 20.
McCain, a prisoner of war in Vietnam and vocal critic of President Obama’s foreign policy, won the Republican presidential primary in the state during his 2000 and 2008 White House bids. He also backed Brown in his losing effort against Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in 2012.
During the event, McCain told supporters that under Obama’s leadership the world has been in “turmoil.”
Brown called the president’s foreign policy “incoherent” and accused him of spending his time vacationing and golfing when he should be hunkered down trying to rein in the global chaos.
Brown has touted his military experience throughout the campaign. He was a colonel in the Army National Guard before retiring this year after 35 years of service. While a Massachusetts senator, Brown served on the Armed Services Committee.
“Senator McCain and I believe that peace around the world starts with a strong America, and under President Obama, our foreign policy is a mess,” Brown said in a press release. “Our friends don’t trust us and our foes don’t fear us. As a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Shaheen has loyally rubberstamped the policies that have taken us in the wrong direction.”
Retired Marine Sgt. Maj. Paul Chevalier, co-chairman of the Veterans for Brown Coalition and former New Hampshire director of Veterans for McCain, said that Brown and McCain recognize that the nation is headed “in the wrong direction” and said that they “know what it takes to strengthen our national security and put our service members and veterans first.”
“The people of New Hampshire are sick of business as usual and ready for leaders to restore our ‘Live Free or Die’ principles in Washington,” Chevalier said in a statement.
The town hall strategy by Brown comes as the state’s Republican Party launched a live ticker allegedly showing how long it has been since Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) has hosted a town hall meeting of her own. The ticker, which appears on the main page of the New Hampshire GOP website, has the count at over 720 days.
Another potential challenger to Shaheen come November, Jim Rubens, said the senator is “purposefully avoiding [answering] unfiltered questions” because she would have to explain her votes regarding U.S. intervention in Syria and the Dodd-Frank bill and questions about her Wall Street ties.
“[She] has only held town halls with supporters or by telephone and that’s why she is falling out touch with New Hampshire and not hearing from actual people,” Rubens, a former state senator, said. “She’s not hearing from her constituents about the breadth and intensity of their concerns on a variety of issues.”
Rubens participated in a town hall of his own in Dover hosted by the Strafford County GOP last week. The Republican primary to pick the nominee is Sept. 9.
Recently, amid criticism by NH GOP Chairman Jennifer Horn, a video posted to YouTube by a user named “Anna Thomas” purportedly shows Shaheen in South Carolina while attending a Democratic fundraiser. Throughout the video the cameraman repeatedly asks Shaheen why she is in South Carolina instead of hosting town hall meetings with her constituents; Shaheen ignores the questions and gets into a car.
Shaheen’s camp confirmed she was in South Carolina but did not offer any other information regarding her visit or the video.
“Sen. Jeanne Shaheen doesn’t have time for town hall meetings in New Hampshire because she is too busy rubbing shoulders with Washington special interests at the home of a fat cat lobbyist,” Horn said in a press release.
Horn says that the fundraiser was held at the home of Bill and Cynthia Broydrick and that the event cost $1,000 to $2,500 to attend.
The Broydricks founded the lobbying firm Broydrick & Associates in 1981 and made small contributions to Obama’s 2009 inauguration fund, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. While they have yet to report having contributed any money directly to Shaheen’s campaign, they have made contributions to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee from which senators draw some campaign funds.
Shaheen has denied the claims that she has not participated in any town hall meetings, and with the general election a little more than three months away it does not seem to be an issue for the incumbent.
In a July 24 CBS News/New York Times/YouGov poll Shaheen was ahead of Brown by 10 points, 52 percent to 42 percent. So far Brown has failed to best Shaheen in any published poll. According to Huffington Post’s up-to-the-day Pollster tracking model, Shaheen leads Brown by 8.2 percent – 49.6 percent to 41.4 percent.
Neither of Brown’s primary challengers – including former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith – were included in those polls.