Eager to shed his identity as a former senator from Massachusetts, Scott Brown’s campaign is now apparently deriding his opponent as the “third senator from Massachusetts.”
As he kicked off his Senate campaign in New Hampshire last week, Brown received assistance from the state’s former Republican governor, John H. Sununu.
Sununu didn’t steer clear of Brown’s biggest impediment as a candidate in the Granite State. Instead, the former White House chief of staff who served as one of Mitt Romney’s most confrontational surrogates in 2012 projected that weakness right onto Brown’s Democratic opponent, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.
“[Shaheen] votes with Elizabeth Warren. She votes with [Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Ed] Markey. She is the third senator from Massachusetts,” Sunnunu said at Brown’s Portsmouth, N.H. rally, according to Yahoo’s Chris Moody. “Scott’s happiest days as a young man were in New Hampshire. … So it’s going to be great to have a senator that was born virtually in the state of New Hampshire. Jean Shaheen, by the way, was born in Missouri!”
Brown was born in Maine, and as Moody put it, the Republican “quite literally was, and very much wanted to remain, a senator from Massachusetts.”
Sununu’s turn of phrase was reminiscent of Karl Rove’s “attack the strength” gambit, a campaign tactic that aims to raise doubts about an opponent’s perceived biggest advantage. And in this case, Shaheen’s biggest advantage is that she isn’t a carpetbagger.