DERRY, N.H. (AP) — Senate hopeful Scott Brown again got help from a former Republican presidential nominee, as Sen. John McCain spoke to a crowd of GOP faithful at a town hall meeting Monday.
McCain, who won the state’s presidential primary twice, stumped for Brown a few weeks after 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney came to a farm in southern New Hampshire to do the same.
Republicans are targeting several seats as they try to reclaim the majority in the Senate. If Republicans get the six seats they need to take the chamber, McCain would become chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Brown’s election would also knock out one McCain’s current committee colleagues, New Hampshire’s first-term incumbent Democrat Jeanne Shaheen.
The town hall was ostensibly a foreign policy discussion, though it veered into other issues including health care and veterans issues. It became a set-piece event for both to repeat oft-stated criticisms of the Obama administration and Congressional Democrats.
“Since he’s become president, I have never seen the world in more turmoil than it is in today,” McCain said. “Look at Iraq, look at Afghanistan, look at Syria, look at the number of people who have been slaughtered, 170,000 in Syria, while we have watched.”
Brown, who faces two other Republicans in a Sept. 9 primary, kept at the theme and pulled Shaheen back into the fray, repeating his claim that she has voted overwhelmingly with Obama.
“Our allies don’t trust us. Our foes don’t fear or respect us. And we’re in trouble,” he said. “We need good leadership. We do not need rubber-stamping of the policies of the president.”
Dean Spiliotes, a longtime political analyst in the state, said McCain’s visit will give Brown a boost from the more moderate wing of the party.
“(Brown) understands that the battle in the state, in that particular Senate race, is for the center once he gets past the primary,” Spiliotes said. “McCain has done well with the kind voters Brown will need to win in the general.”
Brown was elected to the Senate from Massachusetts in a special election in 2010, then lost the seat in 2012 and moved to New Hampshire in December. He faces a primary challenge from former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith and former state Sen. Jim Rubens.
McCain also reflected on his time in New Hampshire, where he first campaigned for president in 1999. He won the 2000 presidential primary but lost the nomination to George W. Bush. McCain won the primary again in 2008 on his way to the GOP nomination.
“I’m here because I believe in Scott Brown,” McCain said. “I believed in him when he ran for Senate in Massachusetts. I am confident he will serve the state of New Hampshire with distinction and honor and I’m very proud to do everything I can to help his campaign.”