August 11, 2016


As Trump Takes Harsh Tone, Ayotte's Rhetoric Is More Welcoming (Kyle Plantz, Aug 11, 2016, NH Journal)

Trump is not making it an easy re-election for Ayotte. On Tuesday, Trump started a new controversy with remarks about the right to bear arms that many interpreted as a threat of violence against Hillary Clinton, forcing many Republicans to repudiate the statement.

"I think they're inappropriate, and obviously today's forum was about making sure we can better serve our veterans on a bipartisan basis, so thank you," Ayotte said to NBC News after a veteran's forum in Manchester on Wednesday. "I said they're inappropriate, so I think that means they went too far."

Andrew Smith, director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center and associate professor of government, tells NH Journal that Trump's message has forced many Republicans off message in their campaigns.

"When you have someone making over the top statements for the press to criticize, that is causing Republicans and his own campaign to explain what he means," he said. "They [candidates] are not able to carry their message forward. That's the concern that Trump is causing a lot of Republicans, to be defensive and to clean up his messes, instead of coming up with their own policies and platform."

Ayotte has come out against Trump for his comments many times over the past several months. She condemned him for crossing a line with his rhetoric, including his comments on a Mexican judge and recently with the Khan family, who spoke against Trump at the Democratic Convention.

But Ayotte has faced criticism from Democrats and some #NeverTrump Republicans for not rescinding her support for Trump.

"She's conflicted," said Joseph Bafumi, associate professor of government at Dartmouth College. "She wants to be favorable to her party's nominee. She sees what Trump is doing and she doesn't like it on a personal level and electorally in New Hampshire. She doesn't want to be part of that. She walks this fine line."

Bafumi suggests that the biggest difference between Ayotte and Trump is his tone and temperament when he speaks.

"Their tones are very different," he said. "Trump is harsh, in your face and never holds back. He says he's politically incorrect and tells it like it is, but some see it as much too abrasive for a presidential candidate. Ayotte has a very even and much more mild demeanor. They couldn't be more different in tone and temperament."

Posted by at August 11, 2016 1:11 PM