- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) - Republican Scott Brown on Wednesday called U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen a “naive follower” of President Barack Obama who fails to grasp the consequences of the administration’s confused and drifting foreign policy.

Brown, a former Massachusetts senator now challenging Shaheen in New Hampshire, criticized his Democratic opponent in a foreign policy speech Wednesday at Saint Anselm College, saying she and Obama have failed to stay ahead of national security threats.

“They seem only more confused on a daily basis as things unravel,” he said. “It’s as if the Obama administration is maxed out, worn down, devoid of ideas, and now, guess what? All the bills are coming due. This is what foreign policy looks like without clarity and conviction.”

Brown faulted Shaheen for not joining him and other senators in 2011 in asking the Obama administration to leave a transitional force in Iraq after the withdrawal of U.S. troops. In what he called a bipartisan effort, Brown was among 11 Republicans and one independent senator who wrote to the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee asking for a hearing with administration officials on the withdrawal plan. Leaving all at once allowed the Islamic State group and other dangerous groups to flourish, he said.

“I’m not sure she realizes - even now - the disastrous consequences of the complete military withdrawal from that region,” Brown said. “So far as I can tell, she never even mentioned (the Islamic State group) in public until last month. This is a member of the Foreign Relations Committee we’re talking about, and it’s been nothing but silence on most of urgent national-security issues.”

Last week, it was Brown who was silent the day the Senate voted on Obama’s request to train and arm Syrian rebels battling the Islamic State militants. Shaheen voted for the measure. A day later, Brown said he supported the Syrian program as well, but was frustrated by the “incoherent policy that led us to this point.”

Brown also is running an ad calling Shaheen “confused” about threats to national security and arguing that securing the border is key. Shaheen’s campaign says Brown is distorting the facts for partisan gain.

“While Scott Brown is peddling the politics of fear, Senator Shaheen is working to defeat and destroy ISIS, supporting air strikes, voting for military action and working to crack down on the terrorists’ financing to disrupt their operations,” said Shaheen spokesman Harrell Kirstein.

Doug Wilson, who served as the Pentagon’s senior spokesman during Obama’s first term, said Brown’s claims are “ludicrous” and described Shaheen as a “rising star” on foreign policy matters.

“The confusion is not on Jeanne Shaheen’s part, it’s on Mr. Brown’s,” said Wilson, now a senior fellow at the Truman National Security Project. He was joined by Michael Breen, the project’s director, on a conference call arranged by the New Hampshire Democratic Party ahead of Brown’s speech.

Breen, who grew up in New Hampshire and served in the U.S. Army in Iraq and Afghanistan, said Brown has offered little in the way of affirmative plans to deal with the extremists, other than to suggest that paying ransom for hostages could be an option.

“Scott Brown’s attempt to paint Sen. Shaheen as somehow responsible for rise of (the Islamist state group) or somehow confused about the threat they presents strikes me as political opportunism of the lowest type,” he said.

In addition for calling for securing the border, Brown said he would re-introduce legislation revoking the passport of any Americans working with terrorists.

“If your loyalty’s gone, your citizenship is gone,” he said. “Your passport is canceled, and good luck with your new friends.”

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