Give Greg Sargent credit over at the Plum Line blog for a good catch here. Read the following exchange, for which Sargent will have audio shortly, and see what it means to you:
QUESTION: “Scott, what do you think about the Tea Party movement and what they are trying to do?”
SCOTT BROWN: “I am not quite sure what you are talking about, what are they trying to do?”
QUESTION: “The anti-smaller government, sort of anti-establishment organization that is trying to take over the country.”
SCOTT BROWN: “Taking over the country. I think that is a little bit of an exaggeration.”
QUESTION: “Well, they are all over the place and they are trying to take down moderate Republicans. . .”
SCOTT BROWN: “All I know is that. . . “
QUESTION: “Are you completely unaware of that organization?”
SCOTT BROWN: “I’m not quite sure what you are referring to. But let me just say that this is a big tent campaign. I have people who are Democrats, I have people who are Independents, Republicans, young, old, liberal, conservative, moderate involved in this campaign because people are looking past the letter behind my name and they are looking at my 30 years of military service. They are looking at the fact that I have been a municipal and legislative leader with over 6000 votes, and more importantly they are looking at the stark differences between Martha and me on health care on cap and trade, on the expiring tax cuts, on the war tax, on how we treat people who are trying to kill us, on the fact that Afghanistan has a very real and vital national interest. They’re looking at those issues, and I welcome everybody’s support, because, literally, it’s me against the machine.”
How did the Boston Globe report those remarks?
Republican State Senator Scott Brown toured a medical device company in Chelmsford, using the event to again blast Democratic efforts to overhaul health care and tamp down Democratic efforts to paint him as a Republican in lock-step with the national GOP.
“The allegation that I vote 96 percent of the time with Republicans is inaccurate, but I’m proud of the fact that I’ve stood up against out-of-control spending and taxation in Massachusetts,” he said.
He also claimed that he was unfamiliar with the “Tea Party movement,” when asked by a reporter. When told that different people labeled him a conservative, moderate and a liberal Republican, he responded “I’m a Scott Brown Republican.”
Clearly, Brown meant that he was unaware of the assumptions built into the rather biased question coming from the reporter, ie, “trying to take over the country.” Brown even called that an exaggeration, which would indicate to most people that Brown was well aware of the movement — as is obvious, since he reportedly spoke at a few Tea Party rallies. Opponents tried to hang a charge of dishonesty on Brown using the poor reporting of the Globe, but as the transcript shows, the biggest problem here is the reporter who had a huge axe to grind in his or her questioning.
However, not all of the Globe’s reporting has been bad in Massachusetts. Martha Coakley’s opponents are having a field day with this bon mot:
Despite that, there is a subdued, almost dispassionate quality to her public appearances, which are surprisingly few. Her voice is not hoarse from late-night rallies. Even yesterday, the day after a hard-hitting debate, she had no public campaign appearances in the state.
Coakley bristles at the suggestion that, with so little time left, in an election with such high stakes, she is being too passive.
“As opposed to standing outside Fenway Park? In the cold? Shaking hands?’’ she fires back, in an apparent reference to a Brown online video of him doing just that. “This is a special election. And I know that I have the support of Kim Driscoll. And I now know the members of the [Salem] School Committee, who know far more people than I could ever meet.’’
“This is about getting people out on a cold Tuesday morning,’’ she says.
Coakley has not been a good candidate, and her choices on campaigning strategy have been in question during Brown’s remarkable rise in the polls. Instead of retail campaigning after the last debate and with only a week to go before the election, Coakley disappeared to DC to meet with lobbyists rather than meet Massachusetts voters. Brown has no trouble pressing the flesh, even in the cold at Fenway Park. Coakley’s revulsion at “shaking hands?” makes her seem perhaps even more imperious than the Kennedys whose seat she wants to win for herself.
An I-know-important-people attitude is not likely to impress the hoi polloi, not even in a state used to political royalty. And to the Globe’s credit, they reported it straightforwardly.
Update: I misunderstood what I had read earlier; I thought it was a quote from Curt Schilling, but it was something from Cassy Fiano (which also appears in a Green Room post) that Schilling quoted approvingly on his blog. I apologize for my error.