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Hassan Won’t Say if Clinton Is Honest

Hillary Clinton, Maggie Hassan
Hillary Clinton, Maggie Hassan / AP
• August 16, 2016 11:24 am

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New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan (D.) dodged multiple questions about Hillary Clinton’s honesty in a CNN interview, leading New Hampshire Republicans to question her own honesty.

CNN aired an interview Tuesday morning with the Democratic Senate candidate, in which she failed to answer whether she considered Clinton honest. Interviewer Manu Raju asked Hassan multiple times what she made of polls showing that nearly two-thirds of Americans consider the former secretary of state untrustworthy in light of her use of a private email server, among other scandals.

"Do you think that she is honest and trustworthy?" Raju asked.

"I support Hillary Clinton for the the presidency because her experience and her record demonstrate she is qualified to hold the job," Hassan said.

The non-answer prompted Raju to follow up with the same question about Clinton’s honesty.

"She has a critical, critical plan among others for making college more affordable," Hassan said.

"But do you think that she is trustworthy?" Raju said.

"I think she has demonstrated a commitment always to something beyond herself, bigger than herself," Hassan said.

Hassan declared her support for Clinton early in the Democratic primary. Even after New Hampshire voters overwhelmingly voted for insurgent socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), Hassan maintained her endorsement. She, along with more than half a dozen state party leaders, served as a superdelegate for Clinton.

Local and national reporters have noted Hassan’s reliance on "talking points and political bromides," as one Politico profile said.

"[Hassan’s] talking points, vague party lines, and memorized factoids won’t, and shouldn’t, cut it come November," the Concord Monitor said in an editorial.

Incumbent Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R.), who Hassan is trying to unseat this November, said the governor’s non-answers on Clinton are part of a pattern. Ayotte’s campaign said that the interview highlights one of Hassan’s weaknesses as a candidate. Republicans have been critical of her unwillingness to take decisive stands on policy questions, particularly relating to the Iran nuclear deal, keeping the Guantanamo Bay military prison open, and other national security issues.

"Governor Hassan has consistently refused to answer simple questions and give straight answers to voters about where she stands," Ayotte spokeswoman Liz Johnson said in a release. "This interview is just the latest proof that Hassan will not be an independent voice for New Hampshire, because she is more concerned with staying on script than being upfront with voters."