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Feb 25, 2016 12:06 PM

Steinhauser-First on NH1 News: Hassan goes up with video targeting Ayotte in Supreme Court vacancy battle

NH1 News Political Director

CONCORD – Gov. Maggie Hassan’s Democratic Senate campaign is putting out a new web video that blasts Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s stance that the next president, rather than President Barack Obama, should nominate a successor to the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, NH1 News learned Thursday.

The narrator in the video highlights that Ayotte was “one of the first Senators jumping on the anti-nomination bandwagon” and claims that the GOP senator’s “catering to her DC party leaders and to her special interest backers” and “not doing the job New Hampshire voters elected her to do.”

The web video uses clips from newscasts (including NH1 News), op-eds from Granite State newspapers, and poll which indicates a majority of New Hampshire voters say the high court vacancy should be filled this year rather than waiting for a new president in the White House.

The narrator in the spot adds “that’s why New Hampshire newspapers say it’s appalling that Kelly Ayotte is putting partisan politics ahead of the U.S. Constitution.”

Two hours after news of Scalia’s death on Feb. 13, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that “this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”

A couple of hours after McConnell’s statement, President Obama took to television to announce that "I plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibilities to nominate a successor in due time.”

The battle over the high court vacancy has become a major fight between Ayotte and Hassan.

In a one-on-one interview with NH1 News on Thursday, Hassan said "i am really disappointed that Sen. Ayotte has stood with her party's leadership saying she won't even talk to a potential nominee."

"The President has a constitutional duty to put a nominee forward and she has a constitutional duty to consider that nomination," she added.

Read: No let up in Ayotte-Hassan battle over SCOTUS vacancy

Responding to the video, Ayotte re-election campaign manager Joh Kohan said “it’s disappointing that Governor Hassan and Washington Democrats continue to exploit such an important issue for the future of the Supreme Court, instead of letting New Hampshire voters have a say."

"Kelly believes that in the midst of a consequential election the voters deserve the right to weigh in on an appointment of such magnitude - a position that even Vice President Biden and other Democrats have taken in the past," he added.

Ayotte's defended her Senate voting record on judicial nominees and has said she’s not concerned about criticism from her opponent, other Democratic groups, or even from the editorial boards of some of New Hampshire’s newspapers.

“What I’m concerned about is letting the people have an opportunity to weigh in on this nomination. This is a very consequential nomination that will impact the court for decades and our country. And I believe with a pending presidential election we just finished our first-in-the-nation primary in New Hampshire, that the people of the nation should weigh in in the presidential election and let the new president nominate this very consequential position,” Ayotte told NH1 News on Tuesday.

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