New Hampshire Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte hosted a town hall meeting in Fitzwilliam, N.H. Thursday afternoon, during which she was asked an innocuous question.
“I really don’t understand,” a constituent asked. “It doesn’t make sense to me, what is wrong with universal background checks?”
“In terms of a universal background check, as it’s been framed, I have a lot of concerns of that leading to a registry that will create a privacy situation for lawful firearms owners,” Ayotte replied.
That brief exchange between Ayotte and an attendee at a meeting in an assuming town near the New Hampshire-Massachusetts border has been featured almost non-stop on MSNBC over the last 24 hours.
As Alex Pappas noted in The Daily Caller Thursday, many media outlets went ballistic over some equally uneventful exchanges at Ayotte town halls over the weekend.
But the exchange Thursday drove MSNBC particularly nuts. Beginning during Thursday’s 2 p.m. broadcast of MSNBC’s NewsNation, there were 11 segments about that exchange. The bulk of those segments came on Friday, with Ayotte’s response being featured every hour through the noon program NOW with Alex Wagner.
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On The Rachel Maddow Show on Thursday, fill-in host Melissa Harris-Perry explained why, in her view, the response was so significant.
“Seriously senator, ‘I have a lot of concerns that leading to a registry that will create a privacy situation,'” Harris-Perry said. “Translation: ‘I bought into the conspiracy theory performing the same background checks we already run on some gun buyers, on all gun buyers, that will lead to a big scary national registry of all gun owners.’ OK. No, no, no. That is not true. Not only does current law ban a national registry, but in the bill that you, Sen. Ayotte, just voted against it is doubly, triply banned. It bans a registry in so many ways, you could calculate it in scientific notation. And we know this.”
MSNBC was among the media hyping another exchange at an Ayotte town hall earlier in the week, this one between Ayotte and Erica Lafferty, the daughter of slain Sandy Hook Elementary School principal Dawn Hochsprung. Although it is not clear if Lafferty, who indicates Connecticut as her home state on her Twitter profile, is a resident of New Hampshire, that exchange on Monday made its rounds on the MSNBC throughout the day on Tuesday.