New Hampshire’s Hassan struggles to answer Clinton trustworthiness question
By Evan Lips | August 16, 2016, 16:51 EST
New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, whose campaign to oust U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte has been defined in part by constant attempts to connect the Nashua Republican to outspoken GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, saw the tables turn on her in a recent interview.
When asked by CNN’s Manu Raju whether she believes Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to be “honest and trustworthy,” Hassan struggled three times to give Raju a straight answer.
Raju: “Do you think that she is honest and trustworthy?”
Hassan: “I support Hillary Clinton for the presidency because her experience and her record demonstrate that she is qualified to hold the job.”
Raju: “Do you think she is honest?”
Hassan: “She has, um, a critical, critical plan among others for making college more affordable.”
Manu Raju: “But do you think that she is trustworthy?”
Hassan: “I think she has demonstrated a commitment always to something beyond herself, bigger than herself.”
Watch the awkward exchange here:
Hassan endorsed Clinton last September, long before former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders claimed February’s Granite State primary in a landslide 60 percent to 38 percent vote.
Sanders’s appeal to voters did not sway superdelegates like Hassan to back him, however.
On Monday Raju also spoke to Ayotte and asked her about her support for Trump. Ayotte has previously said she will vote for Trump but has stopped short of offering him her endorsement.
“It’s going to be about calling it like I see it for the people of New Hampshire,” Ayotte told Raju. “Whether it’s my own party or the opposite party, if they’re doing something that I don’t agree with, that I don’t think is right for New Hampshire, I’ll stand up to them but I’ll also work with them to get things done.“
After the clip of Hassan’s non-answer regarding Clinton’s character began to gain traction online, her campaign elected to issue a press release Tuesday afternoon highlighting what Hassan’s camp claims are Ayotte’s “repeated refusals to answer if she trusts Donald Trump with the nuclear arsenal.”
“Kelly Ayotte either isn’t aware that the President can launch nuclear weapons unilaterally or is intentionally misleading voters, but either way she’s made it clear that she continues to support Donald Trump for President, putting the nuclear codes into the hands of someone who national security and military experts have said represents a clear and present danger to our national security,” Hassan said in a prepared statement.
— Maggie for NH (@Maggie_Hassan) August 16, 2016