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Oct 11, 2016 4:50 PM

Kuster tells NH1 News she's 'surprised' Lawrence didn't break with Trump

NH1 News Political Director

CONCORD – Congresswoman Annie Kuster described the decade old audio recordings of Donald Trump using extremely lewd comments to describe his attempts to have sex with women, which rocked the race for the White House, as “reprehensible.”

And the Democratic incumbent in New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District criticized her Republican challenger, saying “I expected that he would take a stand” against the GOP presidential nominee.

The Washington Post first published the video on Friday afternoon. It captured Trump on an open microphone in 2005 using extremely offensive language when discussing trying to have sex with women. Trump made the comments to Billy Bush, who was a host for Access Hollywood at the time.

The video quickly sparked outrage not only among Democrats but also among many Republicans. Trump apologized for the comments in a statement, saying “This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago.”

Asked Tuesday in an exclusive interview with NH1 News what she thought of the recordings, Kuster said “I’m particularly disturbed by the conversation of ‘this is just locker-room talk’. It’s not an excuse. By the way if you talk to men, if you talk to professional athletes, it’s not locker-room talk. It’s assault. And you don’t have to have daughters to understand. I have sons. This is reprehensible behavior. This man is unfit to be president of the United States. We need a change in our society and we need to look forward to respecting women for everything they have to contribute to this incredible society.”

Kuster spoke with NH1 News moments after landing the endorsement of the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire at an event in Concord.

Former state Rep. Jim Lawrence of Hudson, the GOP nominee in the 2nd CD, also criticized the recordings. Speaking with NH1 News on Monday after greeting veterans gathered at a Columbus Day event at Anheuser-Busch Field, Lawrence said “as a father of four daughters, you know I can’t condone the words that Donald Trump said. I don’t think anybody would agree with anything that he said there. So I think it’s absolutely horrible what he said.”

Lawrence, who’s said he’s supporting the GOP presidential nominee and spoke at a Trump rally two weeks ago in Bedford, was asked if he’ll still vote for Trump.

Lawrence answered “I can tell you this right now: I don’t support Hillary Clinton. I do believe and I still believe that the important issues to the voters of this state are the ones I stated earlier, the economy, our lack of a strong foreign policy to keep us safe, social security, and I don’t believe that Hillary Clinton supports the same priorities that I do for America so I’m not going to support Hillary Clinton.”

Asked again by NH1 News if he’ll still vote for Trump, Lawrence said “I’m still standing with the Republican Party.”

Tuesday, Kuster told NH1 News “I was surprised. He’s the father of eight children. I expected that he would take a stand. Many, many dozens of Republican officials and candidates have. I’ve made my position very clear. This man is not fit to be president of the United States and I’m going to support the first women president. And I’m going to do it with pride because this is an issue that I’m deeply involved in, working on sexual assault. This was a text book definition. If you do not have consent, you do not touch other people, particularly in their private parts. That’s what we teach our children and that’s what we need to have as the policy and the way of life and the way of approaching people from the bottom to the top and certainly from the top down.”

Asked if she’s concerned about the controversy over Clinton’s use of a private email server and address during her years as U.S. Secretary of State, Kuster said “I’ve already said I thought she made a mistake. She’s said she made a mistake and she’s apologized. But she is the most qualified candidate. She has the temperament and she’s fit. And this is what I look to. He is not fit to be a moral leader in our county. And I’m surprised that every Republican isn’t saying that more clearly because this is a very slippery slope.”

When it comes to their congressional race, Lawrence remains optimistic, saying “we’ve got two solid data polling points showing I am actually neck and neck with Ann Kuster, have been since June. And independents are breaking towards my candidacy by a margin of two to one. So I feel pretty strong about our candidacy.”

While Kuster’s considered the clear front runner in the race, she says she’s not taking anything for granted.

“I fight every single day to win these races. And this is a job interview for me every two years. I’m proud of my record. I’m proud of what I’ve done. The work that we’ve done with veterans. The work that we’ve done with seniors. Building the economy. Expanding opportunity with the community colleges. So I’ve got a great record to run on and I’m very happy to put my record up against anyone else,” she said.

U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster lands the endorsement of the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire, at an event in Concord on Oct. 11, 2016

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