Sep 11, 2022 - Politics & Policy

New Hampshire Democrats keep distance from Biden

Maggie Hassan and Chris Pappas

Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Rep. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.). Photo: Scott Eisen via Getty Images

DOVER, N.H. — Even as President Biden's approval ratings have inched up, New Hampshire Democrats facing competitive re-elections are keeping some distance from the White House.

Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) on border security: "I'll continue to stand up to the Biden administration on the issue of securing the border, listening to our frontline personnel down there about needing more border agents, more technology. In some places, we need more physical barrier."

  • Hassan on student loan forgiveness: "I don't support canceling all student debt. I have always focused on how you lower the overall cost of higher education and provide workforce training opportunities."
  • Rep. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) on Biden's "semi-fascist" quote attacking MAGA Republicans: "The president has to be careful not to paint with too broad of a brush. That divisive rhetoric all around is poisonous to our democracy."

The other side: Gov. Chris Sununu (R-N.H.) dismissed the Democratic posturing as phony: "Senator Hassan is in lockstep with [Senate Majority Leader] Chuck Schumer for five-and-a-half years, and then in the last couple months, she panics and tries to convince people that she's some kind of moderate."

But, but, but: One issue New Hampshire Dems and Biden agree on is rallying voters around protecting abortion rights.

  • Months before the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, New Hampshire Republicans passed a law restricting abortions after six months of pregnancy.
  • Speaking to a crowd of Democratic volunteers, Pappas claimed Republicans are "planning a national abortion ban" — while Hassan told supporters the GOP represent "anti-choice extremists."
  • When I asked if she supports a 24-week restriction like the one in New Hampshire, Hassan said: "When women are faced with difficult life decisions ... the last thing they need is politicians like Chuck Morse in the examining room." Morse is one of two Republicans in Tuesday's primary vying for the chance to unseat Hassan.

The bottom line: Keene Mayor George Hansel, an abortion rights-supporting GOP candidate running for Congress, told Axios: "More than 70% of people in New Hampshire consider themselves pro-choice.

  • "There are more pro-choice Republicans in New Hampshire than in any other place in the country."
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