Sep 22, 2016 10:10 PM
NH1 News Political Director
CONCORD – As Gov. Maggie Hassan received the endorsement of one of the leading advocacy groups fighting to protect Social Security, the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate also landed a pair of red boxing gloves.
“I know you’re pretty tough from your campaigns but I thought when you get to Washington in January you might need a little extra help,” National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare President Max Richtman said as he formally endorsed Hassan’s bid to unseat Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte.
“So I thought the governor could put these on when she’s in Washington and fight for you,” Richtman added as Hassan held up the boxing gloves.
The endorsement took place Thursday morning at Havenwood Heritage Heights Senior Living Center in Concord. In explaining why his group was backing Hassan, Richtman said “the contrast could not be any different between your governor and the senator who’s serving right now.”
Richtman said that the NCPSSM “is not a partisan organization. We support Democrats and Republicans based on the record.”
And he noted that the group backed Sen. Susan Collins of Maine in the last election cycle. But NCPSSM tends to endorse and support Democratic candidates Republicans.
In her comments, Hassan vowed that “in the Senate I will stand up to the special interests who prey on seniors hard earned benefits. To protect these programs I’ll fight back against any attempts to turn Medicare into a voucher system or to privatize Social Security.”
And she took aim at Ayotte, saying “she has stood with her political party and her corporate special interest backers like the Koch Brothers at the expense of Granite State seniors. Sen. Ayotte sponsored a bill that was opposed by the AARP and would have cut more than $850 billion from Medicare, increasing out of pocket costs for seniors by nearly $400 a year. That same legislation would have cut $1.3 trillion from Social Security.”
“Sen. Ayotte has voted to cut Medicare by turning it into a private voucher system, forcing seniors to pay $6,400 more within a decade,” she added.
At an AARP New Hampshire hosted forum Monday at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, Ayotte scolded Hassan, saying “I myself have been disappointed already in the Senate race that there have been millions and millions of dollars spent by my opponent and her allies attacking me on Medicare and Social Security. They’re not true because my interest is in working together to preserve Social Security and Medicare.”
And following the forum, Ayotte, who has yet to run a contrast spot on television, accused her Democratic challenger of going negative.
“It’s been unfortunate. She wants to run a negative campaign. We’ve been running positive vision for the results I want to get the people of New Hampshire,” the senator told NH1 News. “I think it says something we’re you’re running a negative campaign. What’s your positive vision for how you are going to represent the people of New Hampshire.”
The showdown between Ayotte and Hassan is one of the most high profile, expensive, and negative U.S. Senate races in the country. And third party groups have spent some $50 million to run mostly negative TV ads in the race. Some of the spots that have targeted Ayotte, criticizing her for trying to weaken Social Security.
On Thursday, Ayotte’s campaign pointed out to NH1 News that the senator has been named an AARP “Champion of the 50+” in recognition of her efforts on behalf of Granite State seniors.
Hassan is scheduled to team up with Richtman again on Friday morning at the McConnell Center in Dover, in what her campaign describes as an event to showcase her commitment to protecting the state's seniors.
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