Entries in Ayotte (2)


Ayotte’s Gun Vote Follows Her to NH Town Hall

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images(FITZWILLIAM, N.H.) -- Sen. Kelly Ayotte ticked through a Power Point presentation at a town meeting Thursday, delivering an update on the federal budget, the challenges of implementing the health care law and the slow-to-recovery economy.

It seemed like a typical afternoon civics discussion if Gilles Rousseau hadn’t driven from Connecticut and taken a seat in the front row. He clutched a folder carrying the death certificate of his daughter, Lauren, a first-grade teacher killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“It says she died of multiple gunshot wounds,” he said in an interview, pausing to compose himself, apologizing for his tears. Rousseau said he had one burning question for the senator: Why did you vote against expanding background checks?

He never got the chance to ask. He was not called upon during the hour-long town meeting. Some residents held signs outside before the meeting, saying only New Hampshire voters should speak. When another man rose to ask Ayotte to explain why she voted against expanding background checks, several people in the audience of more than 250 people applauded.

“I know people have strong feelings about this issue,” Ayotte began. She said she voted against the bipartisan compromise on background checks last month because she believed gun owners would face an undue burden and she feared it could lead to a federal gun registry.

In fact, the legislation called for a felony punishment for gun shop owners who tried to create a permanent registry, though Ayotte did not mention this at the meeting.

“I thought the focus should be on fixing the current background check system and mental health,” Ayotte said.

She declined interview requests, but when asked by ABC News whether she believed her vote was being mischaracterized, she paused and said, “Yes,” before being spirited away by aides.

The biggest Congressional gun control debate in two decades is still reverberating, particularly for several senators who voted against expanding background checks and the bipartisan plan put forward by Senators Joe Manchin, Democrat of West Virginia, and Pat Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania.

Ayotte was among the senators who had considered supporting the bill, but decided to oppose it in the final days. She is under fire by supporters of gun control and being showered with praise by the National Rifle Association and other gun-rights groups. She is not up for re-election until 2016, but her vote is the subject of a barrage of television and radio ads from both sides.

Her town meetings across New Hampshire this week have drawn supporters and detractors who expressed less interest in her standard Power Point presentation than her stance on guns. Stephen Murphy, a retiree from Fitzwilliam, stood outside the town meeting with a sign identifying him as a gun owner who was furious at Ayotte’s vote. He said it was his first outward political act, aside from voting, but the Newtown shootings changed his views on guns.

“I came to the meeting to make sure that Kelly knows that not all gun owners are agreeing with what she’s saying,” Murphy said. “Background checks are not a problem. I’ve been though them myself. I’ve owned guns for 50 years. The only thing a background check does to a prospective buyer is it gives you five more minutes to shop for more guns.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


GOP Senators Stand Strong on Libya, Petraeus Scandals

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Three Republican Senators are at the helm of a movement to stand strong in their intent to combat President Obama on the two issues that currently stand at the forefront of the political media scene.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-NH., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC. have  called for the establishment of a Watergate-style select congressional committee to investigate the administration’s handling of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

“We believe the complexity and the gravity of this matter warrant the establishment of a temporary select committee that can conduct an integrated review of the many national security issues involved,” McCain said today.

The  three lawmakers called for former CIA director Gen. Petraeus as well as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to testify before the committee, if the Senate approves its formation.  They intend to probe “all the way up to the President of the United States.”

Now intrinsic in this investigation, the Senators admitted, is the Gen. Petraeus affair that is muddled in with the details of what went wrong in Libya. Sen. Graham said while the scandal grows “weirder by the day,” he hopes that an investigation can separate the two growing issues: what went wrong in Libya and Petraeus’ affair.

“There’s the weird and the strange and the human failings in one camp and there is the legitimate question about national security being breached in the other camp,” Graham said, “so we can separate out the weird from the national security.” But almost correcting himself immediately after, he noted that “there is beginning to be a national security component of the human failings that I want to know about.”

They introduced a resolution on Wednesday afternoon on the Senate floor that would establish this committee. It would need to be acted upon by the Senate to be enacted.  Asked today if he’d be in support of such a committee, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said no.

The Republican Senators said the committee is necessary to streamline information coming in between Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Armed Services committees who are all looking for answers on what happened in the attack.

“Conspiracy theories are running rampant,” Graham noted, “a segmented stovepipe investigation where you have three different committees going off in three different direction, not comparing notes, not being able to do this in an organized fashion is going to lead to failure….I think finding the truth about Benghazi is only possible if you combine the resources of these three committees.”

McCain and Graham also pledged to block any appointment of Susan Rice, a potential Secretary of State nominee, over her role in explaining the aftermath of the Sept. 11th attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Obama has not yet nominated Rice, but she is considered a frontrunner for the post. This statement drew a sharp rebuke from the President at his Wednesday press conference.

“If Senator McCain and Senator Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me,” said Obama. “And I’m happy to have that discussion with them. But for them to go after the U.N. ambassador, who had nothing to do with Benghazi and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received and to besmirch her reputation is outrageous.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio