One of Mitt Romney’s closest allies during the 2012 campaign — a woman who was often mentioned on his short list of running mates, joined the ranks of Republicans critical of Romney’s post-election “gift” comments.
If Romney’s lost Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), it’s hard to imagine he has many Republican friends left.
On MSNBC Thursday, Ayotte tried to get as far away as she could from Romney’s “gifts” remark. The former Republican presidential nominee told donors Wednesday that he lost because minorities, women and young people had been seduced by the “very generous” Obama administration which had showered them with “big gifts” like rules calling on insurance companies to cover contraception and an executive order protecting DREAM-eligible youth from being deported.
Back when Romney’s similar comments during the campaign were exposed in the infamous 47 percent tape, Ayotte defended him. In September, she called the 47 percent tape “political analysis at a fundraiser” and “not a governing philosophy.”
She was not so generous with Romney’s post-election “gifts” comment.
“I listened to the comments, I don’t know what the context fully was. I don’t agree with the comments,” she said during the MSNBC appearance. “I think the campaign is over and what the voters are looking for us to do is to accept their votes and go forward and we’ve got some big challenges that need to be resolved.”
“I don’t know the full context of them, but I don’t agree with the comments,” she added. “The voters have spoken and they want us to work together to solve our problems.”
It’s a big shift for Ayotte, who was often at Romney’s side during the election and was one of his most prominent supporters. Ayotte was mentioned as one of Romney’s picks for vice presidential nominee, an honor that fell to Paul Ryan. With the “gifts” comment drawing fire from many sides of the Republican Party, Ayotte’s rejection of the comments falls more in line with the way the rest of her party is reacting to Romney a week after he lost decisively.