Does the thought of Kelly Ayotte and free condoms trouble you?

By now it is widely known that Senator Kelly Ayotte's campaign gave out condoms as a stunt to get supporters among young, virile college-age men so they will stand up for her on Election Day.  The stunt, while harmless from a practical sense, is fraught with terrible political symbolism.

The New Hampshire Republican's campaign is distributing free condoms to publicize her plan to get birth control sold over the counter and to push back against Democratic arguments that she opposes Planned Parenthood and contraception.

"As part of Kelly's commitment to making birth control available over the counter, please take a free condom," said a poster spotted at the University of New Hampshire campaign table over the weekend. "Use Condom Sense!"

The Ayotte campaign said the effort – a rare public embrace of contraception by a Republican senator – will be repeated in the future. The giveaway began last week "to highlight Kelly's legislation in the Senate to try to make birth control available for routine use over the counter," said spokeswoman Liz Johnson.

[Ayotte's opponent Gov. Maggie] Hassan supports a bill from Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) that would require insurers to cover contraception if it is approved for over-the-counter use. Her camp argues that Ayotte is trying to paper over a record of opposing Planned Parenthood funding and access to birth control.

Democrats say that Republicans are anti-birth control.  Kelly Ayotte hands out condoms.  By doing this, Ayotte is playing defense against the Democratic narrative that Republicans are anti-birth control and anti-promiscuous sex.

No one has any problem getting access to condoms.  This debate is phony and was created by Democrats, who don't want to talk about abortion and so instead claim that the debate is about birth control.  By handing out condoms, Ayotte seems to admit that Republicans have a problem on this issue and seems to be trying to buy votes by offering sex aids for free.

Liberals used to say they wanted government out of the bedroom, and now we have a Republican putting government in the bedroom.  Instead of appealing to young men's baser instincts, why doesn't Ayotte campaign on, you know, real issues?

Health Care.  On Ayotte's website, she stresses the importance of increasing awareness of diseases and supporting family caregivers.  Swell.  She also mentions supporting medical savings accounts.  But nowhere does she mention repealing Obamacare.  She doesn't mention repealing the insurance mandate.  She also doesn't mention repealing all the insurance minimum requirements (such as covering adult children into their 20s and eliminating the maximum cap on coverage amount) that makes insurance premiums so unaffordable.

Budget.  Kelly calls for eliminating wasteful spending and balancing the budget.  While cheerfully voting for symbolic Senate resolutions that she knew would never even reach Obama's desk, Ayotte has never once tried to stop passage of "must pass" budgets or debt ceiling increases, which would force Obama to negotiate.  Not only that, but she actually fought Ted Cruz for trying to do so.

Energy.  Kelly is a firm believer in man-made (and woman-made?) global warming and wants to combat it.  She also wants to make federal buildings more "energy efficient."  Swell.  In the meantime, she has done nothing to prevent Obama from shutting down coal plants and raising the price of electricity, something a cold state that uses a lot of heat in the winter might be concerned about.

Girly-Girl Stuff.  Kelly is passionately interested in mammograms, something every woman in America is already able to get.  She is also interested in passing legislation to ensure that women get the same pay as men for performing identical work, which is also already law.  Ayotte also wants legislation to prevent discrimination against pregnant women in the workplace, which is also already prohibited by law.

Ayotte gets an F from

So Ayotte basically has nothing to campaign on except sex.

Ed Straker is the senior writer at

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