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Monday March 20th

View from the Hill

Tillis takes heat for comments linking Hagan to Secret Service fiasco

What does a high-profile White House break-in that occurred in September have to do with North Carolina's midterm election?

Nothing, say many people.

It shows that Kay Hagan has bad foreign policy experience, says Republican U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis.

At a campaign stop with Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul earlier this month, Tillis asked, “How on earth can you protect the nation if you can’t protect the White House?” according to WRAL.

When asked later to clarify his remarks, Tillis said the White House break-in was another failure of the administration on national defense, and then claimed that Hagan had approved of all these failures along the way.

Tillis made national news with the comments, and has been lambasted for politicizing an issue that has seen a primarily bipartisan response.

To Mitch Kokai, an analyst for the right-leaning John Locke Foundation, the recent media coverage appears to be an effort by "liberal" media sources to attack Tillis.

“That’s just a reach that people looking for something to find against Thom Tillis found,” Kokai said. “That’s just a big stretch to say that there’s any truth to that.”

Kokai said that Tillis was simply linking Hagan to failures in the Obama administration’s foreign policy, which has been a consistently popular strategy for his campaign. The quote was more about Hagan’s record of constantly agreeing with the currently unpopular president’s agendas.

Many news sources have attributed the comments as a desperate response to polls showing Tillis’ voter support lagging behind the incumbent senator’s.

According to recent public opinion, Tillis has been slightly behind Hagan, though generally the difference has been within the margin of error. Still, Kokai said Tillis did not make the statement out of desperation.

“Thom Tillis is getting to the point in the campaign where he needs to see some movement to be able to have a chance. It’s certainly not a desperation move, but he is going to be very vocal about things that he sees and doesn’t like in Kay Hagan’s record.”

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