Nov 5, 2016 9:41 PM

In NH1 News interviews, Sununu and Van Ostern clash over women's health care

NH1 News Political Director

NASHUA – Colin Van Ostern and Chris Sununu traded fired Saturday over women’s health care but agreed when it came to the controversial comments by the Republican gubernatorial nominee’s father, former Gov. John H. Sununu.

Speaking one-on-one with NH1 News, the Democratic nominee said “I think it’s really disappointing that the way that Chris Sununu wants to close the election is by trying to erode women’s health.”

And Van Ostern continued to criticize his fellow executive councilor, saying “unfortunately it’s consistent with what he did on the Executive Council. And on Tuesday women will have a real choice and families and men who love them and support them on whether they want a candidate for governor who supports women’s health 100% of the time or one who wants to erode it.”

Van Ostern spoke with NH1 News a couple of hours after Sununu sent this email to supporters:

Reacting to the email, Van Ostern said “I think he’s trying to get out the vote and I think he’s trying to communicate to his supporters that he’s going to do whatever he can to restrict access to women’s health even while he runs TV ads saying the opposite thing. But people in New Hampshire are smart, voters are smart. They know that he voted to shut Planned Parenthood funding off. That had real impact here in New Hampshire. And they’re going to support a governor who supports Planned Parenthood funding 100% of the time.”

Van Ostern spoke with NH1 News minutes before taking the stage at a grassroots organizing rally in downtown Concord. He was accompanied by two high profile surrogates, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

Sununu responded to Van Ostern about an hour later.

Taking questions from NH1 News moments before greeting voters at the New England Arm Wrestling Championships, which were held at Boston Billiards in Nashua, Sununu said “I’ve been incredibly consistent on my stances. I’m pro-choice candidate but there are certain issues that I think people have to understand that I do support.”

“I believe in a women’s health protection act, for example. That guarantee’s that a women, no matter what procedure she’s getting or where she’s getting it, can be guaranteed the same quality of care across the state that protects them,” he continued.

Sununu said he put out his email because “it’s just about making sure that people understand where I am on issues. The Democrats have done their best to malign and misrepresent where I stand on certain things. We’re just clarifying the record and again it’s consistent. It doesn’t vary from anything I’ve ever stood for in terms of a prolife or prochoice issue.”

Controversial Comments

On Friday the elder Sununu sparked a controversy on as he warned up the crowd ahead of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at a rally at Atkinson Country Club.

The elder Sununu took to the podium immediately after former Sen. Bob Smith mimicked former President Bill Clinton during his comments.

“You know, playing a bit off of what Bob Smith said, his imitation of Bill Clinton and talking about Hillary, you think Bill was referring to Hillary when he said, ‘I did not have sex with that woman?’”

Sununu then repeatedly chuckled, adding “Bob Smith made me do it.”

A couple of hours later, Sununu somewhat apologized during an appearance on Howie Carr’s popular afternoon radio talk show.

“I apologize for hazing all the foibles of that family, the Clinton family,” Sununu told Carr. “I'm apologizing here.”

The state Democratic Party and Van Ostern’s campaign called on the younger Sununu to disavow the former governor’s comments.

WATCH/REACH: John H. Sununu sparks a firestorm as he mocks Clintons

Reacting to the former governor’s comments on Saturday, Van Ostern told NH1 News “I was disgusted. I’m a father. My son goes to school 100 yards from here. And I don’t think that’s what represents the people of New Hampshire.”

Asked about his father’s words, Chris Sununu told NH1 News “I strongly disagree with my father’s comments. He made a crass joke. There’s no place for that.”

Final Days

An average of the latest public opinion surveys in the Granite State indicate Sununu with the slight edge over Van Ostern.

WATCH/READ: The latest NH1 News Poll of Polls

Asked what he’s sensing on the campaign trail, Van Ostern said “I’ve been out there shaking hands this morning. This is our sixth stop by noon today and I’m hearing great feedback from people who are ready for this election to happen and they want to have a governor who’d going to put people over politics and that’s why we’re going to succeed.”

For Sununu, it’s also about the ground game in the closing days.

“It’s really a get out the vote effort. Right. If all the folks who say they’re going to vote for me vote for me we’ll win in a landslide,” he said.

Sununu teams up with Baker

Sununu’s next stop after the New England Arm Wrestling championships was Martha’s Exchange in downtown Nashua. Sununu was joined by fellow Republican Charlie Baker, the very popular Massachusetts governor.

Sununu said if he’s elected, “I will work very closely with Charlie Baker. I’ll work closely with everybody.”

“This is New England so as a governor you have to be willing and able and have the experience to work across party lines, across borders, because so much of what we do is regional,” he added.

Baker and Sununu disagree when it comes to supporting GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump. Asked how he can campaign for Sununu when the disagree on Trump, as well as over some important issues, Baker told NH1 News “I’ve actually worked for and knocked on doors for and endorsed a bunch of folks who are running for office that I don't agree with on every issue. and I don't think that's the right way to think about this.”

Baker was also on hand to sing happy birthday to Sununu, who turned 42 on Saturday.

As Sununu cut a very large birthday cake, he joked “I haven’t done this since my wedding.”

GOP gubernatorial nominee Chris Sununu teams up with Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker at Martha's Exchange in Nashua, on Nov. 5, 2016

GOP gubernatorial nominee Chris Sununu campaigns at the New England Arm Wrestling championships in Nashua, on Nov. 5, 2016

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Colin Van Ostern and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts speak with reporters in Concord on Nov. 5, 2016

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Colin Van Ostern, on stage at a grassroots organizing rally in Concord on Nov. 5, 2016

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