WASHINGTON -- Scott Brown's strategy in his New Hampshire Senate campaign has focused on claims that securing the border would prevent Islamic State militants from crossing into the United States. But when asked on Tuesday for evidence, Brown denied he ever made such statements.
"With respect, I did not say that -- what I have said is ISIS is real," Brown, a Republican, said during the first televised debate of the New Hampshire Senate race. "When you're talking about how people come into the United States, we have evidence and we have known that we have people coming through the border illegally."
"Is there a possibility?" he added. "It's been raised that there are opportunities for people to come through that border. What are their intentions, I'm not sure, but they have made it very clear that they want to plant a flag in the White House."
Brown has suggested on multiple occasions that ISIS terrorists could cross the southern U.S. border. Just last month, Brown raised the theory during an interview with Fox News.
"As you know, what happened recently with the beheading of one of our own, there's deep concerns that there are members of ISIS actually coming through the border right now," Brown said.
He cut several ads accusing his opponent, Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, of being weak on border security. In one, Brown draws a link between the border and the threat posed by ISIS.
Shaheen agreed that ISIS was a "very real" threat that should be addressed, but declined to get into a debate over whether the 2011 withdrawal of troops from Iraq facilitated the group's rise.
"I think that's revisionist history," Shaheen said. "I don't support sending tens of thousands of troops back into Iraq as an occupying force."
Shaheen accused Brown of fearmongering -- both on ISIS and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Brown took issue with that characterization, even though he raised eyebrows this month for pushing the notion that people infected with the Ebola virus could walk across the border.
"I’m not fearmongering," Brown said. "I’m actually talking about something that’s very relevant and important to people here in New Hampshire and throughout this country and the world. There’s been no coherent policy from the president."
HuffPost's Pollster model, which averages all publicly available polling, shows Shaheen leading Brown by just under 3 percentage points.
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