Incumbent Democrat Jeanne Shaheen claimed in Tuesday’s New Hampshire U.S. Senate debate that she has never opposed using nuclear power as an energy source, though her past statements tell a different story.
“I’m glad we’re talking about energy. As you know many people have received their electric notices,” said Republican challenger Scott Brown. “They’re going up 50 to 100 percent right now.”
“As a result of the efforts, not only of President Obama, but Senator Shaheen to curtail not only oil but natural gas. She’s against nuclear,” said Brown.
At that point Shaheen interjected and said Brown was wrong about her stance on nuclear power.
“Where did you get that?” asked a bewildered Shaheen.
“When the Seabrook nuclear power plan was in effect you made an effort to stop it,” said Brown. The construction of the Seabrook plant became a hot-button issue in the 1986 New Hampshire gubernatorial race. Two plants were planned, but the first plant was completed around the time of the Chernobyl accident in April 1986.
Shaheen denied opposing Seabrook in Tuesday’s debate.
“I was not in office at the time,” she said to Brown to raucous applause.
But while Shaheen was not in a position to pass or block laws related to Seabrook or nuclear power, she did advocate strongly against building the second plant when she worked as campaign manager for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Paul McEachern.
McEachern was challenging the pro-nuclear incumbent Republican governor John Sununu.
“What Chernobyl and Three Mile Island have shown us is nuclear power is not a safe way to generate power,” said Shaheen, according to an Oct. 11, 1986 dispatch from United Press International.
According to that article, McEachern considered the election a “single issue race” with nuclear power being the focal point.
Other reports from that election show that Shaheen went past mere campaign rhetoric to fight the second Seabrook facility.
“[Shaheen] is lining up the anti-nuclear forces, which have kept Seabrook at bay for 10 years, to go door to door for McEachern – as they would for anyone breathing who tries to stop the plant,” reads a Sept. 14, 1986 Washington Post article. “She will emphasize phone calls and house calls to counter the huge television war-chest amassed by Sununu.”
Sununu defeated McEachern in that election.
A Youtube clip circulating on Twitter shortly after Tuesday’s debate provides video evidence that Shaheen opposed nuclear power in the past. During a television debate – which is from 1987, according to the Youtube page – in response to a comment that forgoing nuclear power leaves the U.S. reliant on the Middle East for oil, Shaheen responded “That argument just doesn’t wash, sir.”
The Shaheen campaign did not immediately respond to The Daily Caller’s request for comment. (RELATED: Liens Filed Against Dem Senator Jeanne Shaheen And Her Husband For Failure To Pay Creditors)