Oct 8, 2015 12:40 PM

Steinhauser: Hassan Senate campaign punches holes in TV spot defending Ayotte on women's health

NH1 Political Director - NH1.com

CONCORD – Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan’s U.S. Senate campaign says a new TV commercial by a pro-Republican third party group that defends GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s record on women’s healthcare “can’t rewrite Kelly Ayotte’s dismal record on women’s health.”

The group, One Nation, went up Thursday with what it says is a 17-day $1.4 million broadcast, cable, digital and radio ad campaign in the Granite State.

In the television spot, a female narrator says “almost every day in New Hampshire a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. To find a cure, Sen. Kelly Ayotte is working with senators of both parties to expand breast cancer research and protect annual mammogram screenings for women. Sen. Kelly Ayotte is doing more for women’s health, fighting for over the counter contraception, insuring safe and better options.”

The ad is going up just four days after Monday’s announcement by Hassan that she’ll challenge Ayotte in 2016 rather than run for a third term in the Corner Office.

Ayotte’s record on female issues will be in the spotlight as she runs for re-election. For months, Democrats have slammed Ayotte for being part of what they term the Republican war on women. Ayotte told NH1 News recently that she’s more than happy to defend her record.

In response to the ad, Hassan’s campaign is up with a fact check that says that “Ayotte supports the misguided Hobby Lobby decision. Ayotte has voted multiple times to allow employers to deny women access to contraception. Ayotte introduced a sham birth control bill that would increase costs for women and is opposed by the American Congress of OB-GYNs. Ayotte has voted repeatedly to defund Planned Parenthood and other family planning centers, which provide critical health services including breast exams.”

In an interview with NH1 News on Monday hours after she launched her campaign, Hassan said “Sen. Ayotte’s stand against planned parenthood, she voted to defund planned parenthood. That’s deeply, deeply, concerning.”

In the fact check put out by Hassan’s campaign, treasurer Kathy Sullivan said “while Kelly Ayotte and her special interest backers are desperately trying to rewrite her record to save her political career, they can’t change the fact that Ayotte has repeatedly voted to block women’s access to health care, including supporting efforts to allow employers to deny women coverage for birth control and preventative care like mammograms.”

Meanwhile, the pro-Democratic group American Bridge Thursday put out an email with a subject line that read “New Hampshire Can't Trust Ayotte To Protect Medicare”

Ayotte's campaign quickly responded to the fact check.

“This desperate attempt to mislead voters deliberately ignores numerous examples of Kelly’s work strengthening women’s health care and supporting working families. Clearly Governor Hassan and her allies are grasping at straws to discredit Kelly’s long record of supporting women and families," Ayotte campaign spokeswoman Chloe Rockow told NH1 News.

"She cares deeply about ensuring all women have access to health services, which is why she’s worked to expand access to over the counter contraceptives, led efforts to protect access to mammograms, and voted to fund community health centers that provide key health services for New Hampshire women," she added.

Ayotte, a former state attorney general and first term senator, is deadlocked in the polls with Hassan, a former state senator.

The match up between the popular senator and popular governor will be one of the most high profile and expensive showdowns in the 2016 cycle, and could ultimately decide whether the Republicans keep control of the chamber.


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