Scott Brown drew the middle seat in this first debate featuring the major Republican candidates for U.S. Senate, but did his best to look past his party rivals towards the general election.
Brown called a united GOP Jeanne Shaheen’s “worst nightmare,” and challenged the incumbent to match him by allowing the media to inspect 8 years of tax returns.
"Senator Shaheen said if I release my returns, my wife and my returns, that she would do the same. So I hope she lives up to her word and releases her returns, so that she can be just as transparent as I am."
Jim Rubens and Bob Smith, meanwhile, worked to turn the discussion towards Brown.
Both criticized the former Massachusetts Senator for backing the Dodd-Frank banking law, which Brown defended as imperfect but needed.
Rubens noted that Brown supported many polices favored by President Obama.
“Scott, in 20011, you you voted with President Obama 70 percent of the time. And people are asking in the state why you moved here? Was it you came here because you couldn’t get elected in Massachusetts?”
Bob Smith, meanwhile, argued that N.H. Republicans want a candidate who actually follows the party platform.
He then accused Brown and party leaders of improperly collaborating on a plan to get every candidate to sign a unity letter promising to support any candidate who wins the GOP primary.
“My sources are 100 percent impeccable, that you colluded with the Republican Party of the state of N.H. in either the preparation of that letter or you asked that letter to be sent to put me on the spot.”
Brown dismissed the allegation as "silly."
“Bob, you are absolutely wrong. I said months ago that regardless of who wins that I would be supporting that person. If I prevail, I would hope that they would support us. If they prevail I said I would support them with every ounce of my energy."
Bob Smith called such commitments premature until the issues are fully debated. This debate airs Sunday morning on WMUR-TV.
The candidates are slated to debate three more times before the September 9th primary.