August 16, 2016

Watch Maggie Hassan Melt Down When Pressed On Clinton’s Trustworthiness

New Hampshire Democratic senate candidate Maggie Hassan clearly thought she was going to breeze through a CNN interview about the presidential race’s impact on her campaign, but she hit a roadblock when pressed on Hillary Clinton’s dismal trust numbers, refusing to answer not one, not two, but three questions about her opinion on Clinton’s honesty.

CNN’s Manu Raju characterized the awkward exchange as proof positive of the “risks” associated with backing Clinton:

Yet, being tied too closely with Clinton carries its own risks, with 64% of voters nationally in a recent CNN-ORC poll saying that the former first lady is not honest or trustworthy.

Asked three times if she believes Clinton is honest, Hassan would not answer directly. “I support Hillary Clinton for the presidency because her experience and her record demonstrate that she is qualified to hold the job,” Hassan said.

Hassan’s botched answer was such an obvious gaffe that her campaign rushed to do damage control:

The Hassan campaign later clarified the governor’s statement, saying she does indeed believe that Clinton is honest.

This isn’t the first time Hassan has been criticized for relying on rigid, scripted talking points instead of providing straightforward answers to important questions.

In one of her first interviews as a senate candidate, Politico wrote that she “hewed relentlessly to talking points” and “stuck painstakingly to her script,” and in a subsequent interview with the Concord Monitor, Hassan “offered few policy details” on national security. Then, in a painful June press conference, Hassan dodged reporters’ questions on her shifting position on Syrian refugees five separate times.

Hassan has also come under friendly fire this week for tactics deployed by a left-wing environmentalist group supporting her. The group released a video depicting masked men chasing her opponent, Sen. Kelly Ayotte. The Concord Monitor reported that even fellow Democrats found the video “distasteful”:

Some said the image of Ayotte being chased by masked men evoked negative connotations of stalking.

“It just jumped out as something that I really found distasteful,” said Byron Champlin, a Democrat and Concord city councilor who posted about the image on his Facebook page. “There are First Amendment rights that need to be protected, but I think the tone says a lot about who we are as a people, and the level of respect we give to elected officials.”