Washington (CNN) – Democrat Martha Coakley dodged a pointed question Tuesday about her claim during a Massachusetts Senate debate the night before that terrorists are no longer in Afghanistan.
During Monday's debate with Republican Scott Brown, Coakley questioned why the United States still has troops in Afghanistan. She claimed that the al Qaeda terrorists who were originally targeted by American military action have migrated elsewhere, rendering the mission moot. "They're gone," she said. "They're not there anymore. They're in, apparently Yemen, they're in Pakistan."
A reporter asked Coakley about that claim after a Capitol Hill fundraiser on Tuesday. "Do you stand by that remark?" he asked.
Coakely, standing before a small cluster of reporters and cameras, listened to the question, then quickly looked in a different direction.
"I'm sorry," she said. "Did anybody else have a question?"
The Democrat responded to another reporter who asked why she made the last-minute fundraising trip to Washington.
Coakley said she was in the middle of "a very intense campaign."
"We are facing a candidate from Massachusetts who is being supportive by extreme right groups including many Republican groups who are pouring money into Massachusetts attacking my record and distorting my record," Coakley said. "I'm doing everything that I need to be competitive in this race."
– CNN's Mary Grace Lucas contributed to this report