Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) has had a bad couple of weeks, thanks to her recent vote against background checks for guns. It comes on the heels of some really poor PR moves with the families of gun violence victims. As a result, her poll numbers have significantly dropped 15 points. New ads funded by New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg's "Mayors Against Illegal Guns" organization have been targeting the senator.
As a result, Ms. Ayotte attempted her own defense with an op-ed written for the Seacoast Online. Among other things, she says --
"Out-of-state special interests are running false ads attacking me and even lying about my efforts to prevent gun-related violence. I want to set the record straight: I support effective background checks and in fact voted recently to improve the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)."
First of all, it's important to recognize that pretty much all issues are special interests. Once you get past that whole, "Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men," thing, it's pretty hard to find one of those "general interests" that doesn't leave out at least something. There may be some, but they're few and far between.
(It's also worth a laugh that in slamming "special interests" as something that is clearly to her problematic for being a "special interest," not merely an out-of-state one, Ms. Ayotte is supporting the gun manufacturer-owned NRA -- perhaps the biggest and most powerful special interest group in the country. So, if she really, truly has a problem with special interests, she doesn't have to look very far. Besides, though the radical NRA fringe group may have a local branch, the organization itself is out-of-state...)
Second, I'm trying to figure out what's false in that ad above and "even lying." As far as I can tell watching it, the ad says (repeatedly) that she voted against background checks. And that she voted against background checks. Again and again. And the thing is -- she did. Now, maybe from Sen. Ayotte's perspective it's misleading by not telling The Whole Story, but it's not false, nor is it lying.
And third, but mainly, I keep waiting for her to "set the record straight." She says that contrary to what is suggested (truthfully) in the ads, that she voted against background checks, that in fact she voted to improve the background check system. Well...that's about as straight as an ampersand. Because the vote she's referring to was an amendment co-sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and supported by the gun manufacturer-owned NRA that -- despite its name -- did nothing to expand background checks. At issue -- why voters are pissed off and her poll number are plummeting -- is specifically because she voted against universal background checks. Which the ad (accurately) states 89% of New Hampshire is for.
So much for setting the record straight.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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