January 27, 2016

Maggie Hassan Gives Most Scripted Interview Of 2016

New Hampshire governor Maggie Hassan has avoided full-length interviews in the months since announcing her U.S. senate campaign, and the handful of times she spoke to reporters during her campaign launch were characterized by scripted, robotic answers.

But Hassan’s handlers evidently realized that she would have to talk to the media at some point and made a move to shore up her Washington, D.C. establishment credentials by giving her first full-length interview to Politico.

Unfortunately for Hassan, it didn’t go much better than her interviews with New Hampshire press. Even after months of running for national office, Hassan was still unprepared to talk about major issues in the race:

But Hassan also hewed relentlessly to talking points and political bromides about a Washington that’s “rigged” against the people. “What this race will be about is whether we’re going to continue to have a senator who just protects special interests,” Hassan said. “Or whether we’re going to have a senator, me, who will stand up for the people of New Hampshire.”

She repeated some variation of that 10 times. The strategy, of course, denies her opponents fodder for attacks. But it opens Hassan to criticism that she’s running a generic campaign and is looking to ride Hillary Clinton’s coattails to Capitol Hill.

(It’s worth noting that those “coattails” are questionable given Bernie Sanders is currently beating Hillary Clinton by large margins in most New Hampshire polls.)

By the end of the interview, Hassan was literally repeating talking points over and over to avoid answering questions:

“What’s really important to me is that we have fiscally responsible balanced budgets,” she said. 

As if on cue, she repeated nearly the exact same answer to two follow-up questions.

Asked three different ways about her controversial veto last year of the state budget over business taxes, a move that had critics calling her “Governor Gridlock,” Hassan stuck painstakingly to her script.

If Hassan can’t or won’t provide substantive answers to basic questions about her record or major policy issues, why exactly is she running for senate?