In a winning campaign every move is brilliant, and in a losing campaign every move is a blunder. But Democrats caught off guard by the tight race in Massachusetts to replace liberal icon Sen. Ted Kennedy insist that the problem lies in large part with their candidate, Attorney General Martha Coakley.
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Some of the Coakley criticism is specific: Scott Brown was up on the television airwaves with positive, defining ads earlier, and he held more campaign events in December after winning the nomination. But some of the complaints center on Coakley's personality and speaking style, which convey insufficient enthusiasm.
"She is not someone who is likely to go the pub and buy everyone a round, but neither is John Kerry," said Coakley supporter Lawrence DiCara, a former Boston city council member and veteran of Democratic politics in the Bay State.
"She's much more like John Kerry than she is like Ted Kennedy," he said.