From NBC's Brenda Shepard and Jessica Stringfield
In a conference call with reporters today, the campaign of New Hampshire Senate candidate Paul Hodes (D) seized on GOP Senate candidate Kelly Ayotte's stated opposition to the $15 billion jobs bill that passed the Senate last week.
"Hodes is offering solutions, and all we're getting from [Ayotte] is silence and political rhetoric," Hodes Communications Director Mark Bergman said on the call.
Ayotte "hasn't offered any real concrete ideas," added Hodes Campaign Manager Martin. "This is the most important issue facing Granite Staters every day. They're worried about their jobs. They're worried about keeping their jobs, finding one. And she's yet to put anything on the table that's really substantive that would actually include the economy."
In an interview with ABC this week, Ayotte said this about the Senate jobs bill: "I don't think that particular proposal I would have supported... I did like pieces of it. I liked the payroll tax-cut piece. There were other pieces of spending in it that I don't think we would have; one of the concerns I had with the bill is how we're going to pay for it. And there wasn't a proposal on the table to say we're going to have corresponding cuts to pay for it, or even we're going to use existing stimulus money to pay for it."
*** UPDATE *** Ayotte's camp responds: "Paul Hodes' campaign lecturing anyone on job creation is absurd. His plan to grow jobs has already failed, giving him zero credibility on this issue. Hodes outrageously claimed the stimulus would create millions of jobs, but instead we've seen 2.8 million jobs lost and unemployment hovers near 10%. Hodes is down in Washington working against New Hampshire's small business owners. His push for a government takeover of health care, paid for with higher taxes, is an obvious job killer. The same can be said for his vote to pass 'cap and trade,' a de facto national energy tax, and his support for the patently undemocratic 'card check' bill. Bottom line, Paul Hodes has created a culture of uncertainty that makes it difficult for Granite State business owners to plan, invest and hire workers."