Ayotte blasts Warren’s attempts at influencing Senate race
By Evan Lips | October 27, 2016, 10:24 EST
U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte has a message for her democratic colleague in Congress, Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren: Ask around if you think I’m weak, and stay out of New Hampshire’s business.
— Elizabeth Warren (@elizabethforma) October 24, 2016
The Cambridge progressive Warren stumped in the Granite State earlier this week to campaign for Ayotte’s challenger, Gov. Maggie Hassan. Warren proceeded to tap her brimming reservoir of anti-Donald Trump rhetoric — while concluding that Ayotte’s decision to not endorse, yet support — and then ultimately denounce — the GOP presidential candidate and wealthy reality television star as a sign of weakness.
“Donald Trump’s not doing so well, and Kelly is running as fast as she can away from him. I will say one thing. Donald Trump sure has made Kelly Ayotte dance. Day one she loves him. Day two, hates him. Day three she’s back with him. Boy, spins around and around. But one of the things I love about the people from new Hampshire that you value guts. You make the right decision and then you stick with it. Donald Trump is right. Kelly is weak. And that’s why a tough, smart fighter like your governor Maggie Hassan is going to win on November 8th.”
Ayotte responded to Warren’s “weakness” slap during an appearance Wednesday on Boston Herald Radio.
“Well, maybe she (Warren) should ask the police and law enforcement of our state whether or not they think I’m weak having been the attorney general of our state, have been a murder prosecutor, having had the endorsement of our troopers association, the Manchester Patrolman’s Association,” Ayotte said.
Ayotte also said Warren should stick to minding her business in Massachusetts.
“I have a long history of standing up for the people of New Hampshire, so the thing about her coming to New Hampshire, a Massachusetts senator, and telling the voters, telling New Hampshire what to do, I think we see right through that,” said Ayotte.
Related: Ayotte navigates foreign policy minefield on way to November
Ayotte’s re-election bid has been stormier than expected, thanks to the timing of a presidential election year in which the bombastic Trump claimed the GOP nod amid the seemingly constant release of a barrage of cringe-worthy stories regarding his past.
Earlier this month, during a debate with Hassan, Ayotte stumbled when asked if she considered Trump to be a role model to children.
“I think that certainly, there are many role models that we have, and I believe he can serve as president, and so I would absolutely do that,” Ayotte said.
She later tried to clarify her answer by saying she misspoke, noting that neither Trump nor his challenger, Democrat Hillary Clinton, should be held up as role models for children.
For Ayotte, the timing of her debate gaffe couldn’t have been worse, as on Friday years-old video leaked of Trump boasting about how his celebrity status allowed him to grope women without their consent. Ayotte tried to douse the ensuing political fire the following day by renouncing Trump and saying she plans on writing-in Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, on her presidential ballot.
Hassan’s camp, however, ran with the story and dubbed Ayotte “Craven Kelly” in a series of blistering press releases.
Ayotte’s reelection bid is one of several that are crucial to the GOP’s tenuous grasp on the majority in the U.S. Senate.
The latest RealClearPolitics polling averages show Ayotte clinging to a 1.3 point lead.