Given the party's past experiences, it makes sense that Republicans would go out of their way to avoid discussing women's reproductive health issues. Scott Brown, the Republican and former Massachusetts senator running for Jeanne Shaheen's seat in New Hampshire, hid in a bathroom to avoid answering questions about the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision, as The Guardian's Paul Lewis discovered recently.
Brown isn't the first person to see the wisdom in staying Republicans staying silent on Hobby Lobby. Strategists on both sides of the aisle noted that even though the ruling was a win for conservatives, talking about it too loudly would only hurt the GOP. “It’ll reinforce overall perceptions of the right as hostile to women,” Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg told Politico. “Even though it’s in the court, and not Congress, it’ll still be seen as part of the broader narrative of the war on women.”
Meanwhile, Shaheen currently leads Brown by about 8 percentage points (with a 6 point margin of error) and also has the support of women's groups and female Independent voters, according to Talking Points Memo. And yet, Lewis' account doesn't reflect well on the candidate. According to Lewis, Brown walked to the restroom when Lewis brought up the ruling. After a brief exchange:
Brown stood up, walked to the back of the diner, and took shelter in the bathroom. A campaign aide, Jeremy, looked bewildered. He lingered beside me for a few moments, before politely excusing himself – “Nice to meet you” – and joining his boss in the bathroom.
Lewis followed Brown to his next stop, where he was kicked out and the police showed up. Rob Finneron, the owner of Hobbs Tavern and Brewing Company, told The Huffington Post that he then called the police after Lewis refused to leave. "The reporter wouldn't let anyone else really get a chance to talk and because he wasn't an invited guest, I asked him to leave," Finneron said. He added that Lewis was "argumentative and indignant" and didn't leave until he saw Finneron calling the police. A Guardian spokesman told The Post that Lewis was "engaged in legitimate and responsible reporting."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.