After that, it was time for the talk radio card. “Would you welcome the support of someone like a Rush Limbaugh, who apparently has been asked to come up?” Brown was asked at a news conference Wednesday. “No one’s been asked to come out my behalf,” Brown answered. “This race isn’t going to be won by outside people coming in.” (Just for the record, Limbaugh himself says, “First I’ve heard of this. No one’s asked. Would decline if anyone did.”)

In the face of all that, Brown has been trying to carve out a new political niche for himself, as a “Scott Brown Republican.” He doesn’t run away from the R-word; he and his advisers are well aware of Massachusetts Republicans who in the past have tried to downplay or even hide their party affiliation. But at the same time he’s telling everyone that he’s his own man. “I don’t owe anybody anything at all,” he said Wednesday. “I don’t owe the national party anything.”