Democrat John Tierney, a nine-term House incumbent from Massachusetts, couldn't answer a straightforward question about whether his constituents are better or worse off than they were two years ago. At a Democratic primary debate Thursday, each candidate was asked to give a one-word, "yes or no" answer to the question. Every challenger quickly said "no," but when the question came to Tierney, he hestitated and laughed uncomfortably.

"Yes or no?" the moderator asked again.

"You're not going to get an answer from me," said Tierney. "You're going to get the same answer I gave before. They're not where they ought to be, but they're somewhat better than they were two years ago." Watch the clip below:

Tierney, as the Boston Globe reports, is facing a tough primary challenge after two consecutive cycles of close calls in the general election. The Democrat's financial activity has come under investigation, and his wife recently spent time in jail for tax fraud.

The likely Republican candidate in 2014 is state senator Richard Tisei, who ran against Tierney in 2012, holding the veteran congressman below 50 percent and losing by just a percentage point. A victory for Tisei would give Republicans their first House member from Massachusetts since 1997. At least one poll has shown Tisei leading Tierney.

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