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Monday, February 8, 2016

N.H. Sen. Shaheen On Why She Supports Hillary Clinton

Jeremy Hobson made a stop in Exeter, New Hampshire to speak with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. Shaheen was in town to speak with Hillary Clinton supporters who were getting ready to volunteer to get the word out about their candidate ahead of Tuesday’s primary. (Mary Dooe/Here & Now)

Jeremy Hobson made a stop in Exeter, New Hampshire to speak with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. Shaheen was in town to speak with Hillary Clinton supporters who were getting ready to volunteer to get the word out about their candidate ahead of Tuesday’s primary. (Mary Dooe/Here & Now)

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, from New Hampshire, says she wants to see a woman become president of the United States. But that’s not why she’s supporting Hillary Clinton as the Granite State gets ready to vote in Tuesday’s primary.

“I never hear any men who are supporting Bernie get asked about if they’re supporting him because he’s a man,” Shaheen told Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson. “I’m supporting Hillary because she’s the best candidate in this race. I believe she’s the most qualified, she’s the most experienced.”

Interview Highlights

Do you think Clinton has a chance of winning the primary?

It’s an uphill climb. We know that, we’ve seen the polls. The fact is Hillary has not given up on New Hampshire. She’s here fighting for every vote.

Why do you think it’s an uphill climb? She did win here eight years ago. 

She did, but she’s got opposition from a neighbor — from Bernie Sanders. She’s been attacked by the Republican candidates who have been in this race for over a year now who have been running ads against her. Karl Rove has been running millions of dollars in ads against her. We have to correct the record and tell people the difference and why those ads are wrong.

If there’s such an advantage for local candidates in New Hampshire, why is that the state that gets to have so much influence?

New Hampshire is the first primary because historically it’s been the first primary. We’re celebrating the 100th anniversary of the New Hampshire primary this year. The issue in New Hampshire is really about the contest here. In New Hampshire, you still have to go talk to people where they live, on street corners and town hall meetings and living rooms about why you want to be president and what your vision is for the country. You can’t do that in California because it’s such a huge state.

If Hillary Clinton is the nominee of the Democratic party, what does she need to do to attract Bernie Sanders’ supporters? 

I think Hillary put it very well when we were in Nashua on Friday. She said, “I understand that a lot of young people are supporting Bernie. And I appreciate that — I appreciate their involvement. But the fact is that even if they’re not for me right now, I’m still for them. And I’m going to keep fighting for them.”

What does the fact that Hillary Clinton is a woman mean to you? 

I want to see a woman become president. It’s the last glass ceiling that hasn’t been broken. But I’m not supporting Hillary because she’s a woman. I never hear any men who are supporting Bernie get asked about if they’re supporting him because he’s a man. I’m supporting Hillary because she’s the best candidate in this race. I believe she’s the most qualified, she’s the most experienced. She’s ready to be commander in chief on day one. She doesn’t need any on the job training. If you want to see how tough she is, look at her testimony on before the House hearing on Benghazi. Eleven hours before that committee — there is no one else in this race, Republican or Democrat, who could have done what she did before that committee.

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Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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