Each weekend I post a “Weekly Wrap,” or my impressions of the race as they played out during the past seven days.
The week wasn’t particularly riveting on the campaign event front. But there were a few stories on the 2nd district candidates that made the news, and the individuals are all starting to better articulate where they will stand in the race.
Below are my top three observations of the week:
1. Charlie Bass on Joe Barton– You really didn’t need this
Charlie Bass‘s campaign issued a statement today condemning the apology issued to BP by Rep. Joe Barton of Texas — the very Congressman who was in New Hampshire campaigning for Bass as recently as two weeks ago.
Barton received extensive criticism after he apologized to BP executives in a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on Thursday. Barton said he regretted that BP would be forced to pay for cleanup of the spill.
Not surprisingly, this caused quite the stir. The New Hampshire Democratic Party called on Bass to renounce Barton’s actions, and Bass’s Democratic opponents were quick to jump on this political gimme.
While Bass couldn’t have known what Barton would say when inviting him to campaign two weeks ago, it reflected poorly on a candidate who is already struggling to shake off the “Washington insider” image.
It made him an easy target for Democratic criticism, and waiting until Sunday to issue a statement didn’t help his cause. Where was Bass’s campaign manager on this one?
2. It might really be the “year of the woman”
… or whatever it is the media is calling it after the July 9 primary. Watching the highly articulate, confident, and accomplished Jennifer Horn and Katrina Swett discuss the role of women in politics today, I was highly impressed.
They — and Ann McLane Kuster — are going places, if not the U.S. House of Representatives. All of them are admirable people who young girls would hope to emulate, politics aside.
The 2nd district could easily see a faceoff between two accomplished female politicians, as it seems that the women are among the most inspiring and energetic candidates in the race and best able to connect with voters.
Swett said Friday that she thought women, although they can certainly be fighters, bring a greater degree of cooperation to politics than men: “I think was women we can bring a certain sense of openness and that’s very valuable.”
Voters in the 2nd district may very well be able to test that theory should they send a woman to Congress.
3. The candidates have a thing or two to learn from Bob Etheridge
North Carolina Democratic Congressman Bob Etheridge faced major criticism this week when he physically assaulted a young man on a public street, after the unidentified man put a video camera in the politician’s face and began asking questions.
The incident raised questions about the role of opposition operatives in politics. It was politically disastrous for Etheridge — and should serve as a lesson to everyone else.
While nothing of the sort has happened in New Hampshire’s 2nd district race, opposition members of campaigns are certainly at work. Bass has staffers attending most events hosted by other candidates, and other candidates have done the same.
At a recent GOP event, I was asked quite seriously if I was a “Democratic operative” and told I would have to leave if this were the case.
But if Etheridge’s mishap taught politicians anything, it’s that openness is the best policy — even for members of rival staffs.
Whatever they say in public is fair game, and it does nothing to improve their image when they discourage — or throw, in Etheridge’s case — their opponents from the room. Unless they’re counting on wrestling as a backup career.
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—Up next: Check back Tuesday for analysis of Ann McLane Kuster’s appearance at the Plymouth Area Democrats Candidates Forum.