Shaheen approves of Obama except when she doesn't

Last night’s debate in the New Hampshire Senate race between Jeanne Shaheen and Scott Brown (video below) didn’t really produce all that much in the way of fireworks. The audience was polite and seemed very evenly divided in support between the two candidates. In fact, for those following along on Twitter, I probably saw more criticism of moderator Chuck Todd than I did either of the candidates, but the liberals seemed more upset than Scott’s supporters.

One of the interesting moments of the evening, however, came when a member of the panel of questioners asked Shaheen to put herself in the place of a person answering the phone at home when a pollster called. Would she say she approved or disapproved of the President’s policies and decisions?

“In some ways I approve, in some ways I don’t approve,” of the president’s decisions, Shaheen said when asked to answer “yes or no” if she approves of Obama’s job in office.

The phrasing of the question actually lent itself to more of a direct answer, but Shaheen essentially dodged it. By now, most of us have gotten these calls from the various polling groups, and it’s a multiple choice question. You can either say you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, strongly oppose, neither support nor oppose, or have no opinion / don’t know enough to answer. But the panel here failed to enforce the groundwork of question and let her waffle on it, while not actually uttering the President’s name.

I have to wonder if the media hasn’t found a new spin to the did you vote for Obama question here. Candidates seem to have finally been prepped for that one, so now they’ll ask them to pretend to be poll respondents. On the plus side, they’ve got less than two weeks to sweat it out and then they’ll never have to hear about it again. (And in the case of at least some of these candidates, they may never see a reporter again.)

Here’s the video of the debate in case you missed it.