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Can Brown Afford to Keep Going Negative?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

 

Senator Scott Brown held nothing back in his debate against Democratic hopeful Elizabeth Warren on Thursday.

The Republican attacked Warren for her claims of Native American heritage, her status as a law professor at an elite university, her plans to raise taxes on businesses and the wealthy and her legal career, which included representing Travelers Insurance in a case against asbestos victims.

Prior to the debate, the most recent negative messaging from the Brown camp was an ad featuring the Senator in a sweater addressing the camera directly and criticizing Warren for attacking him in her own ads.

But as the Brown campaign continued to hammer on the Travelers Insurance case Friday morning, it seemed clear that the incumbent Senator was shifting gears as the race heads into the final stretch.

Risk vs. Reward

Michael Walsh, a professor of Political Science at Westfield State University, attributed the change in Brown's tactic to Warren's apparent surge following the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte where she took the stage to deliver a primetime address.

"I think that's been largely a reflection of the numbers he's seeing," Walsh said, noting that four out of five recent polls have shown Brown trailing Warren.

"He really can't let those numbers get any bigger. With less than 50 days to go, it's hard to play catch up."

Walsh said he found Brown's opening shot at Warren's Native American heritage to be a somewhat odd start for a candidate who has spent a significant amount of time building up an image of himself as an easy-going regular guy.

"You wonder if it does any damage to the way he's projected himself for the past two years. It might start to tarnish that a bit."

Two Strategies of Attack

While Clark University's Robert Boatright has not put much stock in the recent surveys of the Massachusetts Senate race due to small samples and inconsistent results, he does believe Brown is heading in a new, more aggressive direction with his campaign tactics, which carries both potential risks and rewards.

"The upside of the attacks for him is that if he launches a half-dozen charges, one might start to stick and he'll be able to figure out which one that is," he said.

The downside, however, is that the charges--Native American, ruthless lawyer, elitist academic--don't work toward a coherent negative image of Warren.

Warren's attacks, on the other hand, have worked in concert to further her campaign's narrative of Brown as part of the national Republican party who supports business at the cost of middle-class and working families.

"When attacks reinforce people's suspicious about a candidate, they are successful," Boatright said.

"When they try to get you to look at a candidate in an entirely different way, they're not."

The Hit Parade Rolls On

For UMass-Lowell professor Dennis "DJ" Deeb, going on the offensive is a must for Brown at this late stage in the game.

"The worst thing that Scott Brown can do at this point in the campaign is be passive."

Warren was the first to launch negative ads this month, and Brown's position as the incumbent Senator means he has a more established position from which to take his own shots at her.

But for those shots to be effective, the Republican will need to focus on issues, such as the economy, rather than Warren's personality. Social issues will offer less firepower since both candidates are running left of the center in the heavily Democratic Bay State.

Regardless of the target, Deeb expects the hit parade to continue all the way to Election Day.

"The worst thing you can do in politics is not respond," he said.

"When somebody takes the knockout punch at you, you need to punch back." 

 

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Comments:

Iron Mike Farquhar

Negative? Hardly!

We all have the basic right of self-defense.

Ms. Warren has campaigned for a year 'that the middle class is getting hammered'. By her VERY CHOICE OF WORDS – she is engaging in class warfare. We don't have 'classes' in the USA!

Her recent attacks on Brown's voting record were false. She was dishonest in characterizing them as 'anti-woman', - we can only assume she calculated that many Democrats and many women would simply believe the charge.

She now has a long record of dishonesty

– the Cherokee box checking,
- the basic research for her book [her research partner Teresa Sullivan was FIRED],
- claiming that Wall Street banks were 'squeezing' the middle class – while she flipped 20+ foreclosed homes in Oklahoma,
- claiming college tuition is too high while she makes $350K for teaching one class...

I wish Scott was a stronger Republican, - but at least he is honest. Warren flunks the smell test.

Harvey Beehive

Brown being negative? You gotta be kidding! She takes a big fat pay check from an insurance company in order to defend them and screw over middle class people from collecting on a claim, then has the nerve to say the middle class is getting hammered and that she's all for them??!! Lizzy...look in the mirror and ask how you live with yourself.

Edward Saucier

Brown for very condescending, wasted time on Warren's heritage and lied about his voting record and misled the people concerning Warren's part in the Travelers Insurance case. If it weren't for Brown I would have never know Warren was a professor. And I always thought she looked like an Indian, I guess I was wrong and uninformed. That's a joke Harvey and Mikey.

They both agreed to play nice but any agreement is only as good as those who make it and the world knows after listening to all those republicans on the stump that all they do well is lie like rugs. "Slippery" Scott Brown is running scared and he sure looks and talks like it and he surely isn't a professor.

I can hardly wait for round two. That is if he shows up. Harry might have to throw him out of the Senate again.

Iron Mike Farquhar

Again a misleading comment from the 'usual suspect'.

It's NOT Mz Warren's HERITAGE we're concerned with - it's her 20+ years LYING about it that disqualifies her.

If she were 1/32nd of ANY tribe - it's wouldn't matter.

But she ISN'T! Instead she is 32/32nds LIAR! We had enough of a LYING senator when we had Ted Kennedy - who KILLED Mary Jo - and LIED about it. Then he LIED about an event that began at Au Bar in Florida.

ENOUGH LYING POLITICIANS!

Kristin Mayo

Scott continues to mislead about Elizabeth and about himself. I understand that in his new ad Monday, Scott will say his first vote in the Senate was for jobs. I looked up his record. It was. But look at the rest of his jobs votes:

Brown has repeatedly voted against bills to create and preserve thousands of jobs in Massachusetts. Link below to several paragraphs of explanation of the jobs acts and bills Scott Brown voted against.
Excerpt:
Brown voted to filibuster the American Jobs Act (Senate vote #160, 10/11/2011; S. 1660), the comprehensive jobs bill first proposed by President Obama. The legislation would create 1.9 million jobs nationwide,[1] including 11,100 Massachusetts jobs in transportation infrastructure work and up to 4,900 in school construction.[2] The package also would cut payroll taxes for Massachusetts families by an average of $1,830, cut payroll taxes for 140,000 Massachusetts businesses[3] and extend assistance to 123,000 long-term unemployed Massachusetts residents and 49,300 people looking for work who were in danger of losing their benefits.[4] The bill’s benefits are fully paid for by imposing a 5.6 percent [5] surtax on modified adjusted gross incomes over $1 million. That tax would affect only a fraction of one percent of all Massachusetts taxpayers, people whose average annual income is $2.2 million a year.

rethink brown.com
http://rethinkbrown.com/the-complete-record.php

Kristin Mayo

At the debate, Scott tried to make a big, bad thing of Elizabeth’s $350,000 salary. So I looked up Scott’s salary for comparison:

The Brown household income 
$839,520 in 2010
$510, 856 in 2011.
For details, see a MassLive article on both Senate candidates incomes. 

Iron Mike Farquhar

Kristin, do you know or understand the difference between SALARY and INCOME?

After being elected Scott wrote a book. Much of what you see is INCOME from book sales.

That is W-A-Y different from Harvard paying Cherokee Liz $350K SALARY - for teaching one class. And she has the gall to harp about 'college being too expensive...' when her overpriced salary is part of the problem, - as is the government using our tax $$ to fund student loans.

WHERE in the Constitution does it say the Federal Government has a duty to fund student loans?

Kristin Mayo

Do you know what is required in preparing to teach one graduate level course at a top University? Not to mention the credentials one needs to get hired. And no, 1/32 Native American is not one of them.

Edward Saucier

Scott Brown is called "Slippery" by his Senate colleagues for a reason. He's a serial exaggerator at best and just another typical republican purveyor of truthiness at worse. His party considers him to be their useful idiot and the major point that Liz Warren made in the first debate was that electing Scott Brown would just give the republican party more of a chance of getting a Senate majority which would be a disaster for the country along with a House majority. And the number one and number two most bipartisan republicans in the Senate wouldn't amount to a hill of beans when their pals turn this country into a banana republic.

Harvey Beehive

Ed...as far as the GOP turning this country into a banana republic, I'm afraid that Obama has beat them to the punch.

Kristin Mayo

Scott falsely accuses Elizabeth about her handling of the Travelers Insurance issue.
Ask yourself why.

The following from a family member of a victim: ' Sorry, as someone whose family member was diagnosed with mesothelioma last year I've been researching this. I wish others would too. She was actually ON THE SIDE OF THE VICTIMS in this, working to get a trust fund set up (many companies went bankrupt and did Johns Manville the company Travelers insured) The trust fund was for $500,000,000. A LATER COURT, after Warren's job of helping set this up was done, ruled differently. What she did helping set up the trust fund was to make sure those with mesothelioma were compensated and companies wouldn't go bankrupt from all the court cases that future suits would bring. I wish Brown, a lawyer himself, had done a bit more research on this. He, to me, really came across as either stupid or lying, thinking no one would know the difference. What Scott Brown should do is to work to get asbestos banned in the US as it is in many other countries. Most people think it is in the USA but is is NOT banned.' lLithRose Boston Globe comment

Stephen Quist

lizzy warren decrys the costs of higher ed and yet she rakes in $350,000 to instruct 1 CLASS!
Sorry I am all for student loans to help ouyr kids get a better education but not at the expense of wasting $350,000 on 1 teacher teaching 1 course.........
Lizzy also represented the largest insurance company in the company making $250,000 denying claims to workers and laborers who while doing their jobs became inflicted with Asbestosis and rather than helping these hard working people out and their families......lizzy warren sided with big business and turned her back on the working families.............lizzy warren will be a tool for harry reid and will not care about Massachusetts families.....only what harry reid wants...........

Kristin Mayo

Scott falsely accuses Elizabeth about her handling of the Travelers Insurance issue.
Ask yourself why.
The following from a family member of a victim: ' Sorry, as someone whose family member was diagnosed with mesothelioma last year I've been researching this. I wish others would too. She was actually ON THE SIDE OF THE VICTIMS in this, working to get a trust fund set up (many companies went bankrupt and did Johns Manville the company Travelers insured) The trust fund was for $500,000,000. A LATER COURT, after Warren's job of helping set this up was done, ruled differently. What she did helping set up the trust fund was to make sure those with mesothelioma were compensated and companies wouldn't go bankrupt from all the court cases that future suits would bring. I wish Brown, a lawyer himself, had done a bit more research on this. He, to me, really came across as either stupid or lying, thinking no one would know the difference. What Scott Brown should do is to work to get asbestos banned in the US as it is in many other countries. Most people think it is in the USA but is is NOT banned.' lLithRose Boston Globe comment

Kristin Mayo

Apologize for the double post

Edward Saucier

Hey Q... did Scott Brown ever side with big business? He says he's for the people, he must mean the corporations, they're people now.

Hey Q ... stop, look, listen..to the facts about the Travelers Insurance case Liz was involved with...it's not, I repeat NOT, like you say it is. Read the Kristen Mayo post...she's right, you're wrong.




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