Following up on my ask below, TPM Reader GR reports in on the latest on the Massachusetts senate race and Brown’s demand that Ted Kennedy’s widow stay neutral in the race …
You asked what the response here in Massachusetts has been about Scott Brown’s refusal to take part in the exact same Kennedy Institute debate that he participated in back in 2010. First, full disclosure, I am low level Democratic Party official, a Warren volunteer and convention delegate, as well as a working class guy who actually drives a pick-up truck for work rather than campaign ads. That said, I am also a relatively objective guy whose nose is glued to the political goings-on in our area (except when I screw up the early life-details of a certain Arizona sheriff. I’m still really embarrassed about that. [cringe] Seriously.)
Today’s reaction to Senator Brown’s ridiculous demands on Vicki Kennedy has been somewhat muted in the media. I think they are still trying to absorb it. The Warren Campaign is not attacking full force - yet. I think both those groups will be much more vocal tomorrow after they get done shaking their collective heads. The Brown people have been busy inoculating the Senator as is demonstrated by the right-leaning Boston Herald’s story placing the blame for Brown’s rejection on Mrs. Kennedy rather than the other way around. That will be the Brown line and it will play well with the minority of Republicans in our state. I’m not so sure it is going to work with independents, though. The mushy middle independent voters who liked Teddy Kennedy may be a bit puzzled by the lack of sportsmanship demonstrated by our junior Senator.
So much of this is going to depend on whether the Warren Campaign makes hay or a hail storm out of this story. One of the frustrating hallmarks of Warren’s campaign is its constant deliberate tact towards the high road. It hurt them in the press coverage of the Native American heritage dust-up when they agonizingly allowed that non-story to suck oxygen out of coverage of real issues. While it might no have hurt Warren’s numbers, it sure as heck didn’t help that that episode kept her offense off the field. If by 9 am tomorrow, the Warren campaign is not up and running with some really hard hitting surrogates, or better yet, a direct challenge from Elizabeth herself, I will be disappointed.
Warren is a great champion of the proverbial little guy. Let’s see her be a champion for herself on this low hanging fruit of a gaffe by Brown.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.