Seven days to go. Get out the vote. Get your friends out to vote next Tuesday.
The refrain could be heard from Coos County to Nashua in the U.S. Senate race on Monday. And familiar charges and counter charges between the two candidates, still locked in a dead heat battle, were voiced as well.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, in Berlin, said Republican challenger Scott Brown has hurt seniors with his votes in the Senate when he represented Massachusetts.
Brown, with Arizona Sen. John McCain and Sen. Kelly Ayotte at the American Legion Post in Nashua, said Shaheen, through her 99 percent support for President Obama, has enabled what Brown called Obama’s failed foreign policy.
“If you’re happy with the direction that we’re going on right now, then you should vote for Senator Shaheen,” Brown said.
Shaheen, on a “Get Out The Vote New Hampshire Tour,” stopped at the Berlin Fire Station and Tri-County Community Action Program senior’s lunch at the Berlin Senior Center.
“For years I’ve been fighting to make a difference for families and businesses here in the North Country,” Shaheen said in a statement released by her campaign. “I worked to break through the gridlock to open the Berlin prison, which created nearly 300 jobs. I fought to close loopholes for companies that outsource our jobs. And I helped write bipartisan legislation that cut taxes for small businesses here in the North Country.
“Unlike Scott Brown I didn’t just move to New Hampshire to run for another office, I’ve spent my career fighting for the people of this state,” Shaheen said.
In Nashua, Ayotte took a not-so-veiled swipe at Shaheen, who has discredited Brown’s endorsement by the National Federation of Independent Business by saying it is a “Koch brothers funded” organization, a reference to the conservative billionaire brothers whose groups have been spending millions to elect Republicans.
Ayotte, without naming Shaheen, said, “One of the most ridiculous things I’ve heard on this campaign trail is somehow that the NFIB is this Koch-funded group instead of a bunch of New Hampshire businesses that are worried about the tax and regulatory climate, the health care issues that they are facing – all of the challenges and burdens that are coming down from Washington.
“I have good news for small businesses. You elect Scott Brown and you will have a senator who will be an advocate for you,” she said.
“We are so close to the opportunity to make a difference for New Hampshire and for this country,” Ayotte said. “We have eight days. Do not leave anything behind.”
McCain said, who won the New Hampshire GOP presidential primaries in 2000 and 2008, said, “I love this state in way that’s hard to describe.”
He said Brown will be an independent senator and “is a person who can lead.”
“If there is anybody in this country who we owe decent health care, it is our veterans,” McCain said. “But it’s not case today.”
He said the Veterans Affairs scandal is “a blot on our national honor.”
While an inspector general has reported systemic problems, he said, “We can’t solve it just by passing legislation. This administration has fumbled and failed our veterans.”
McCain said, “There are people who need to be fired. The lesson needs to be given.”
President Barack Obama, McCain said, has a “feckless foreign policy and a lack of leadership. Obama has proven if American withdraws, there is a vacuum and bad things happen and bad people do bad things.”
“This President has failed those brave men and women who sacrificed in Iraq and Afghanistan and their families,” McCain said.
Brown said he, McCain, Ayotte, along with Sens. Lindsay Graham and Joe Lieberman, asked Obama to leave a transition force in Iraq, but Shaheen did not sign the letter.
“I want the United States to be respected, feared, and I want to have the ability to be the leader and help restore America, as these fine people are trying to do,” Brown said, promising to be an independent leader.
“You have an opportunity to make a very real difference. We have seven days and a wake up. Do not wake up the next day and say, ‘My gosh, I should have gone to the phone bank and made more phone calls.’”
Shaheen, meanwhile, told the seniors in Berlin that she has “always fought to protect Social Security and Medicare because New Hampshire seniors deserve to retire with dignity. When Scott Brown represented Massachusetts, he voted for devastating cuts to Social Security and Medicare, while supporting special breaks for Big Oil, Wall Street and companies that ship jobs overseas. That’s just wrong and it’s only further proof that he’s not for New Hampshire.”
Shaheen’s campaign said she has long been a “champion for the North Country.” It said she “worked to open the Berlin prison, creating nearly 300 jobs. She’s fought to close loopholes to companies that outsource American jobs and worked to pass the bipartisan Small Business Jobs Act, which cut taxes for North Country small businesses, increased businesses’ access to credit, and helped companies export their products overseas.”
The campaign noted that in the Senate, Shaheen opposed a proposal “that would cut to Social Security benefits for seniors, and she is also an original cosponsor of the Medicare Protection Act, which would stop Republicans in Washington from turning the program into a voucher system.”
The campaign said Brown “supported a Republican budget that would have forced deep cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Brown has also said he is open to partially privatizing Social Security. And unlike Jeanne Shaheen, Brown supports a proposal that would result in Social Security benefit cuts for New Hampshire seniors.”
In Nashua, Brown was asked to comment on Hillary Clinton’s comments on Sunday in Massachusetts: “Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs. You know that old theory, trickle-down economics. That has been tried, that has failed. It has failed rather spectacularly.”
After Republicans voiced outrage, Clinton walked back the comments, saying she “short-handed” her point and reportedly clarifying at a New York state campaign event, “Our economy grows when businesses and entrepreneurs create good-paying jobs here in America and workers and families are empowered to build from the bottom up and the middle out — not when we hand out tax breaks for corporations that outsource jobs or stash their profits overseas.”
Brown said, “I would ask her to come up here and check with the small business owners in our state. “One of the reasons they’re not creating as many jobs as they could is that Obamacare is keeping them under 50 (employees).”
Brown said the owners of North Country Tractor in Pembroke have 47 employees “and want to go to 58, 60. They could do it in a second. But as the result of Obamacare they are not doing that.”
“She is out of touch with what’s happening in our state in particular,” said Brown of Clinton. “Right now the biggest wet blanket is Obamacare and the business mandate coming in after the election. Then energy costs and you throw in the regulatory scheme and then the high corporate and state profits taxes.”