Scott Brown's Reaganesque turn in Senate debate; shades of Gerald Ford for Democrat Coakley 

Chris Stirewalt already noted below that the special Senate election in Boston is shaping up to be nail-biter full of political drama. In particular, supporters of Republican candidate Scott Brown have been zeroing in on two key comments from last night's debate with Democrat Martha Coakley. One is this exchange with omnipresent Washington wag David Gergen, who was moderating the debate:


GERGEN: If this bill fails, it could well be another 15 years before we see another health care reform in Washington. Are you willing under those circumstances to say 'I'm going to be the person. I'm I'm going to sit in Teddy Kennedy's seat, and I'm going to be the person who's going to block it for another fifteen years.

BROWN: Well, with all due respect it's not the Kennedy seat, and it's not the Democrats' seat -- it's the people's seat. And they have a chance to send someone down there who's going to be an independent voter and an independent thinker and to look out for the best interests of the people of Massachusetts.

Brown goes on from there to talk about health care reform, but it's even better watching the exchange in context. Brown stuffs Gergen's presumptuous question right back at him, and the turn is positively Reaganesque.



The other notable remark from the debate was from Coakley, but unlike Brown's performance, I doubt that her remarks on Afghanistan are likely to help her campaign:

If we went in because we decided the Taliban was giving harbor to terrorists, we supported that, I supported that. They're gone.


Somewhere in a wooden box six feet underground just outside Grand Rapids, Michigan, Gerald Ford's corpse is wincing. Given that seven CIA officers were just killed in an al Qaeda terror attack in Afghanistan, that statement is pretty big unforced error on Coakley's part.

Two other campaign details of note. Yesterday, Brown attempted a money bomb grassroots fundraiser online. He had hoped to raise $500,000. He pulled in an astounding $1.3 million for the day. As for Coakley, this morning her campaign had to pull one of their Scott Brown attack ads because the ad misspelled "Massachusetts." Oof.

Brown may still be the underdog in deep blue Massachusetts, but it's pretty clear that it's his campaign and not Coakley's that has its mojo working.

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Mark Hemingway

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