Someone likely running against Walt Havenstein, a Republican gubernatorial candidate in New Hampshire, has unearthed a real gem of a video.
The 17-second video now on YouTube shows Havenstein speaking to a group of business students at the University of New Hampshire four years ago. In the clip, the GOP candidate derisively refers to tea partiers as “teabaggers.”
“We got a lot of problems in this country,” Havenstein says. “The teabaggers, or whatever they are, they’ve been telling us that all summer long. Alright?”
He then asks “Isn’t that who they are?” with his tongue stuck out.
“I’m a little out of touch,” he adds, with a big grin on his face.
At the time Havenstein, a Naval Academy graduate, was the CEO of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), a large McLean, Va.-based information technology company that provides government services.
Another Republican candidate for governor in New Hampshire, Andrew Hemingway, has jumped on Havenstein over his impolitic remarks, reports NH Journal.
“Whether one likes the ‘Tea Party’ or doesn’t like the ‘Tea Party,’ everyone should be offended by this,” Hemingway said in a statement obtained by NH Journal. “People have referred to me as a Tea Partier and I always say this: If you mean an average citizen worried about the future of our country as it relates to over-taxation, over-regulation and limited liberty who is willing to stand up and work? Then fine. That’s who these people are.”
Hemingway also called his opponent a “Washington establishment-chosen candidate” who “refers to fellow Republicans in a sexually derogatory manner.”
He called on Havenstein to apologize.
Havenstein admitted that he had chosen his words poorly but otherwise defended his statements.
“As anyone who watches the full video can clearly see, I was talking about the positive impact that the Republican victory in the 2010 elections had on shaking up the status quo. So it was obviously a poor choice of words,” he said in his own statement.
“The people of New Hampshire have had enough of overspending and tax increases, and I am committed to shrinking government, spending less and lowering taxes,” Havenstein added.
According to a mid-June poll reported by the Boston Herald, Havenstein leads among voters who have announced a preferred Republican candidate. The poll is pretty meaningless, though, because nearly 75 percent of the poll participants either declared themselves undecided of refused to endorse any candidate.
Ironically enough, Granite State Democrats have accused Havenstein of promoting tea party goals because he opposes Medicaid expansion and supports right-to-work legislation.
The New Hampshire Republican Primary will occur on Tuesday, September 9, 2014.