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Entries in Scott Brown (32)

Thursday
May022013

Republicans Hope Gabriel Gomez Is the Next Scott Brown

Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(BOSTON) -- Republican Gabriel Gomez is the underdog in the Massachusetts U.S. Senate special election. There's no other way to look at it when you see the Democratic advantage in voter registration in the very blue state.

But Republicans point to Gomez's dynamic story, as well as his youth and the public's dissatisfaction with Congress, as reasons the GOP is dreaming of duplicating Scott Brown's shocking upset win in 2010.

A Gomez victory would certainly be an upset. The June 25 special election has him pitted against Rep. Ed Markey, a well-established Democrat who has been in the House and campaigning in Massachusetts since 1976.

"I think he's the underdog, but it's not out of the realm of possibility that he could defeat Markey," Tufts political science professor Jeffrey Berry told ABC News. "He's an attractive candidate with a winning personal story. He's had success in the military and business worlds… His greatest weakness is that he's a Republican in an overwhelmingly Democratic state."

Gomez, 47, is the son of Colombian immigrants. He speaks fluent Spanish and often sprinkles his speeches and ads with Spanish. He is a former Navy pilot and SEAL, who also attended Harvard for his MBA and became financially successfully as a private equity entrepreneur. He was able to use that money to help his political career, loaning his primary campaign $600,000, which helped him air television ads.

He has run on a socially moderate but fiscally conservative platform, supporting gay marriage but saying it should be left up to the states. He does oppose abortion personally, citing his Catholicism, but hasn't called for Roe v. Wade to be overturned.

Gomez supported Barack Obama in 2008 and when John Kerry was appointed secretary of state, opening up this seat to a special election, he wrote a letter in January to Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick asking for the interim appointment. In the letter he cited his past support of the president, saying he would support Obama's positions on both gun control and immigration. His opponents jumped on it, but it didn't seem to hurt him in the primary.

He hasn't always supported the president. Gomez served as the spokesman for the controversial Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund, which aired a 22-minute video three months before the election accusing the president of politicizing the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. The group has been fundraising on his behalf.

Gomez is up against the dean of the Massachusetts congressional delegation, who has the backing of Kerry and all the establishment Democrats in the state. Markey has been in the House since he was 30 years old in 1976. He's a liberal Democrat who has focused on issues like the environment, women's rights, energy, telecommunication and national security, amongst other issues.

"Recent history says Republicans do really well in Massachusetts in special elections," longtime GOP strategist and Massachusetts Republican committeeman Ron Kaufman said. He cited Scott Brown and the victory last month by a Republican state legislator in a special election in the heavily Democratic town of Peabody.

"Voters like a stark choice between candidates," Kaufman said, happily noting the headline on the Boston Globe Wednesday, which read, "Newcomer Gabriel Gomez to face off against veteran Edward Markey."

"Voters are in record numbers upset with Congress. This is not the time you want to run for Congress after being in Congress since the second Lincoln administration," he added.

In his victory speech, Gomez struck a bipartisan chord, telling the crowd, "If you are looking for someone who refuses to work with the other party, I'm not your guy… If you are looking for an independent voice, a new kind of Republican, take a look at our campaign. I'd welcome your support."

Gomez also told supporters, "I will approach this job with a military man's discipline, a father's sensitivity and a businessman's experience."

Kaufman said that line would be the heart of Gomez's campaign.

The true heart of the campaign, however, will be trying to paint Markey as a Washington insider who has just been in Congress way too long.

Massachusetts Democratic consultant Mary Ann Marsh said there's no way this will be another election like the one where Brown upset Democrat Martha Coakley when Coakley and state Democrats did not aggressively take on Brown until it was too late.

"Ed Markey has to run the next seven weeks like his hair is on fire," Marsh said. "If Massachusetts Democrats learned anything from 2009 and should have been learned long before that…no race is sure in Massachusetts no matter what. You have to run hard you have to run smart and you have to use every resource possible to make sure you win."

Kaufman avoided comparing Gomez's upset chances to Brown defeat of Coakley.

"Every race is different," Kaufman said. "But, this is going to be a real race."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec132012

John Kerry Nomination Could Create Musical Chairs for Scott Brown in Senate

State Department photo(WASHINGTON) -- News that Amb. Susan Rice withdrew her name from consideration for Secretary of State may have brightened the days of both senators from Massachusetts.

Prior to Rice’s withdrawal, she was considered one of the top two contenders for the job -- the other is Sen. John Kerry, and with Rice out of the running, Kerry is “all but certain” to get the nomination, according to ABC’s Jake Tapper.  That means a vacant seat and a special election, which could benefit out-going Sen. Scott Brown, who lost his bid for reelection to Elizabeth Warren in November.

Brown is widely expected to seek out his old job and he would be viewed as a strong contender, particularly in a special election to fill Kerry’s vacancy. Republicans have a tendency to perform better in special elections, which draw many fewer voters.

But it would be at least six months -- assuming that Kerry is indeed nominated as Secretary of State and assuming that Brown wins a special election -- before he could re-join the Senate.

Massachusetts law dictates that a special election cannot take place sooner than 145 days from the time an out-going Congress member’s resignation is effective, meaning that at least 145 days must pass between the date that member actually leaves their job and the date that the special occurs. At this juncture in time, even if Kerry is nominated tomorrow and has an incredibly quick confirmation at the beginning of the next Congress, the earliest conceivable date to reach this mark is in June 2013.

The special cannot occur more than 160 days from the time that the resignation is effective.

Brown’s victory in a special election would not be a sure thing. Although he leaves office with high approval ratings -- exit polls from the 2012 election showed him with a favorability rating of 60 percent -- but Massachusetts is a solidly Democratic state, and there are many Democrats in elected office in the state who could challenge Brown.

In an odd twist of political gamesmanship, the law requiring a special election instead of an appointment from the governor in the event of a vacant seat was passed by Democrats passed in Massachusetts in 2004 in case Kerry resigned if he won the presidency. He did not. But Democrats at the time were trying to take the appointment power away from the sitting Republican governor -- Mitt Romney.

A request for comment from Sen. Brown’s office on the news was not immediately returned.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov062012

Elizabeth Warren Wins Massachusetts Senate Race

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images(BOSTON) -- ABC News projects that Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic Senate candidate in Massachusetts, will win her race, picking off a Republican seat for the Democrats in the battle for control of the Senate.

Billed as one of the most important races in the fight to control the Democratic-led Senate, the contest pitted Warren against Sen. Scott Brown, the incumbent who shocked the political establishment in 2010 with his victory in a special election to fill the seat that the late Sen. Ted Kennedy held for 47 years.

This is the year that Kennedy would have been up for re-election, so Brown was up again a mere two years after his first win.

Brown, 53, and Warren, 63, engaged in what was the year's most expensive Senate race for spending by candidates only, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The campaigns had spent more than $70 million collectively by mid-October.

More remarkable: The race was almost entirely absent of any outside spending, the result of an agreement between the candidates called "The People's Pledge," which vowed to keep outside ads out of the hotly contested race.

Those familiar with Massachusetts politics, including Brown himself, always expected Democrats to mount a serious attempt to take back the seat this time around.

The wild card was who would jump in to challenge the freshman senator. That candidate turned out to be Warren, a professor at Harvard Law School and creator of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a newly formed, federal department that developed under the Obama administration.

With a good level of name recognition established as a result of her work with the agency, as well as her oversight of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (more commonly known as TARP) and a lengthy resume, Warren was the Democrats' answer to the much-considered question of who could challenge the popular senator.

Warren announced her candidacy in September 2011, and the race was fierce from then on.

The conversation in the Senate race mirrored the presidential race, with Brown attacking Warren for comments she made in 2011 when she said "there is nobody in this country who got rich on his own." The comments mirrored Obama's "you didn't build that" remarks in July on which Republicans pounced.

Brown launched a "Thank You for Building This" tour as part of his campaign's efforts to highlight the senator's support for free enterprise. Brown kicked off the tour in early August by bringing coffee and donuts to a construction crew in Framingham, Mass.

Warren didn't back down from her comments, however. Indeed, the first-time candidate made infrastructure a big part of her proposed policy agenda, launching her "Rebuild Now" tour that called for an investment in the country's infrastructure.

Warren's unapologetic support for such government investment has helped to make her a rising star within the Democratic base.

Brown has assailed Warren for listing her herself as "Native American" on law school documents early in her teaching career.

"Elizabeth Warren said she was a Native American, a person of color," Brown said at their first debate in September, gesturing toward Warren. "As you can see, she's not."

Polls showed the race to be a virtual dead heat until the end, when Warren started to pull ahead in the deep-blue state in the final weeks.

 

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct252012

Warren and Brown: Mass. Matchup Is Hottest in Country

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(BOSTON) -- In the fight for the Massachusetts Senate seat, it's an epic battle between Republican incumbent Sen. Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren, the liberal crusader famous for taking on Wall Street.

The outcome of this race could decide the control of the United States Senate.

ABC News recently sat down with both candidates while out on the campaign trail in the fever pitch leading up to Election Day.

No Senate race in the country has been more expensive and more personal.

This contest is the most expensive Senate race so far in terms of money raised, with both sides raising over $50 million total. Spending is very high too: More than $33 million has been spent, the second-most expensive in the country, a figure underscored by the fact that both candidates made a pact in January agreeing not to accept advertising by outside groups.

Brown is a moderate who often defies his own party, but as Warren reminds voters every day, a vote for Brown is also a vote to put Republicans in charge.

"People all around the country understand that this race may be for control of the United States Senate," Warren told ABC News in an interview in Taunton, Mass.

"It's really about standing up for working families and that is what this race is about at the national level and it's part of what this race is about on the Senate level," Warren said.

Warren has shattered records for fundraising and nearly 60 percent of the donations to her campaign have come from out-of-state.

It was something of a political miracle when he won Ted Kennedy's Senate seat two years ago, but now Scott Brown is finding out how hard it is for a Republican to win again in Massachusetts.

Brown, who can only hold on to his Senate seat if a lot of Democrats vote for him, doesn't like to talk about that issue, saying it doesn't matter much to him which party wins the majority in the Senate come November.

"For me it doesn't really matter who is in charge," he told ABC News in an interview in Worchester, Mass., adding that the real problem is the dwindling number of moderate Democrats and Republicans in the Senate. "I'm just sick of the gridlock. It makes me disgusted."

"You still need to get to 60 votes," says Brown. "I'm tired of the gridlock. It makes me just so disgusted to walk in there and see, you know, the usual spotting on votes on both sides." (Watch the ABC Interview with Scott Brown)

Brown says if Republicans gain control of the Senate, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the current minority leader, will still have to "earn my vote."

"I'm not going to be happy with the gridlock that we've had, so I'm going to wait and see, and see who emerges, see if anyone's going to challenge him, and then I'll figure it out," says Brown, who agrees that McConnell bears some of the blame for the constant obstruction.

Warren enjoyed early support from Democrats thanks to a video of her speaking on fair taxation and debt.

"There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody," Warren says in the video, which appeared online late last year. "You built a factory out there, good for you. But I want to be clear, you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you all were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for."

Warren stands by what she said in the video.

"We all invest in education, we invest in roads, and bridges, we invest in police and firefighters and those are the conditions that we all help create so that people can grow their businesses and create opportunities for all of us and that it's really important when that happens, that we continue to pay it forward for all of us," Warren told ABC News. "Nobody pulls up the ladder. Everybody pays a fair share, and continues to make those investments in the future." (Watch ABC's interview with Elizabeth Warren)

Brown says that video has helped his campaign.

"It's actually galvanized the small business owners and the people that are out there working hard and getting up in the middle of the night or early in the morning and providing services. Third-, fourth-, fifth- generation businesses, they're deeply offended and they're voting for me."

Republicans need to pick up at least three Senate seats to win the majority on Election Day.

They've got a good chance in Republican-leaning states like North Dakota, Montana and Nebraska. And former WWE executive Linda McMahon even has a shot in Connecticut.

But Massachusetts has remained a toss-up.

Polls have been consistently neck and neck throughout the race, with Warren recently pulling a few points ahead. The latest poll shows Warren up five percentage points, 43 percent to 38 percent.

Asked why in one of the most Democratic states in the entire country, with President Obama polling now with a 30-point lead in the latest polls, this is even a race in the first place, Warren demurred.

"You know, I'm out there every single day working for every single vote," Warren replied. "That's what I should be doing and that is what I am doing."

If Democrats can defeat Brown -- they probably keep the Senate.

It may not matter to Scott Brown whether Republicans control the Senate but Elizabeth Warren is betting it will matter a whole lot to all those Democratic voters in Massachusetts.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep202012

Scott Brown Rips Elizabeth Warren Over Native American Status

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images(BOSTON) -- Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts put challenger Elizabeth Warren on the rack early during their debate Thursday night, assailing the Democrat for listing herself as "Native American" on law school documents early in her teaching career.

"Elizabeth Warren said she was a Native American, a person of color," Brown said, gesturing toward Warren. "As you can see, she's not."

The debate was the first in a series of four that will take place across the Bay State over the next 40 days. And with the latest polls showing a near-deadlock among likely voters, both candidates are counting on their performances, and the public's reaction, to swing the election their way.

Brown, who replaced Ted Kennedy in the Senate after the "Liberal Lion" died in 2009, launched the attack on Warren's decision to file as a Native American on law school directories in response to the opening question from moderator Jon Keller, who asked if the senator had questioned Warren's character during the campaign.

Warren countered, saying that her mother was "part Delaware and part Cherokee" and that she never used her designation for professional gain.

"I was going to start by saying Sen. Brown is a nice guy," she added, momentarily disquieted by the early onslaught.

"You're a nice woman, too," Brown replied.

But then he called, as he would throughout the debate, for Warren to release personnel records he said would determine if she had won any undue professional success because of her "Native American" status.

The candidates would trade jabs on everything from President Obama's defeated jobs bills (Brown voted against all three) to the Blunt Amendment, which would have granted employers the right to deny certain kinds of health care coverage if they cited "moral reasons." Brown voted against the unsuccessful Republican-sponsored measure.

Charged with submitting policy proposals that would run up the deficit, Warren was defiant.

"I'm sorry," she said, "But these are made up numbers, Sen. Brown."

Warren attempted to tie Brown to his more conservative Republican colleagues, noting that a GOP-controlled Senate could lead to Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, who calls climate change a "hoax," being allowed to run the committee that oversees the Environmental Protection Agency.

Brown bristled at the suggestion, telling Warren, "You're not running against Jim Inhofe, you're running against me."

There had been some speculation earlier in the day that Brown, who was in Washington, D.C., until late afternoon, would miss out on the debate to vote on a short-term spending bill. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., postponed all business and accused Brown trying to find a reason not to return to Massachusetts.

Warren, who first gained public notoriety -- and liberal acclaim -- during her time heading a watchdog committee charged with pursuing accountability and transparency in the 2008 "TARP" bailouts, is considered by many Democrats to be the candidate most likely to unseat a Republican in this November's general election.

Brown and Warren will meet for a second face-to-face Oct. 1 on the campus of the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep202012

Did Sen. Scott Brown Almost Miss Debate vs. Elizabeth Warren?

Joanne Rathe/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(BOSTON) -- The first step towards winning a debate is showing up.

That almost didn’t happen for Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., who is scheduled to face off Thursday night against Senate challenger Elizabeth Warren at 7 p.m. in Boston.

As of 3:30 p.m. ET, Brown was still in Washington, held up by the prospect of late-night votes in the Senate on a continuing resolution to fund the government that needs to get passed before Congress goes into recess.

Thursday afternoon, Brown said that he would need to stay in Washington and skip the debate if there turned out to be late-night votes. That prompted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to declare that there would be no votes Thursday night. As he did so, Reid suggested Brown was trying to use the Senate as an excuse to get out of his debate.

“It’s obvious to me what’s going on,” Reid said. “I’ve been to a few of these rodeos. It is obvious there is a big stall taking place. One of the senators who don’t want to debate tonight won’t be in a debate. While he can’t use the Senate as an excuse, there will be no more votes today.”

Legislators were hoping to pass the bill on the continuing resolution Thursday night, no matter how late, so that the Senate would not need to be in session on Friday and so they could get back to their districts instead.

But Reid insisted that Brown not use the Senate as cover to miss the debate.

“We want the debate to go forward,” Reid said. “We’re in a very important Senate race across the country. We’ll vote tomorrow morning or do tomorrow night after midnight.”

As it turned out, Brown arrived at a Washington, D.C.-area airport and aides expected him to make tonight’s debate in Boston on time.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep182012

GOP Senate Candidates Denounce Romney’s Comments

Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Democrats aren’t the only ones taking issue with the now-famous fundraiser video of Mitt Romney characterizing the 47 percent of voters who will vote for Obama as “dependent on government.” Some Republicans have also denounced his comments.

Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, a Republican who supports Romney, issued a statement distancing himself from what Romney was seen saying.

"That’s not the way I view the world,” Brown said in a statement on Tuesday.  ”I know that being on public assistance is not a spot that anyone wants to be in. Too many people today who want to work are being forced into public assistance for lack of jobs.”

Polling in Massachusetts has consistently shown Obama with a strong lead over Romney, and strategists there agree that Brown needs to court crossover voters -- people who favor Obama -- in order to keep his seat in the fall.

Connecticut’s Republican Senate candidate, Linda McMahon, also posted a statement Tuesday.

“I disagree with Governor Romney’s insinuation that 47 percent of Americans believe they are victims who must depend on the government for their care,” McMahon said in the statement. “I know that the vast majority of those who rely on government are not in that situation because they want to be. People today are struggling because the government has failed to keep America competitive, failed to support job creators, and failed to get our economy back on track.”

McMahon, who is probably best known as the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, is in a similar position to Senator Brown. Running in a traditionally blue state, McMahon will also need to court crossover voters in order to win her race.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug202012

Republicans Condemn Todd Akin for 'Legitimate Rape' Remarks

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin said today that he would not step aside despite calls for him to quit by two prominent Republican senators following his comments about "legitimate rape."

Akin, a Republican, insisted on Mike Huckabee's radio show today that he is staying in the race despite the furor over his comments that rape victims rarely get pregnant.

"If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," he said Sunday.

Akin apologized for the remark today and told Huckabee that he was "not a quitter," and still hoped to win the Senate seat against Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill.

"I've really made a couple of serious mistakes here that were just wrong, and I need to apologize for those," he said.

"Let me be clear," Akin added. "Rape is never legitimate. It's an evil act that's committed by violent predators. I used the wrong words in the wrong way."

When asked today to clarify what he meant by "legitimate rape," Akin said, "I was talking about forcible rape and it was absolutely the wrong word."

Akin's initial statements sparked blowback from both parties.

Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass, and Sen. Rob Johnson, R-Wisc., who are in competitive races in their own states, released scathing statements calling for Akin's withdrawal from the Senate race.

Akin would have to withdraw from the race by Tuesday in order for the Republican Party to field another candidate before November elections.

"As a husband and father of two young women, I found Todd Akin's comments about women and rape outrageous, inappropriate and wrong... Not only should he apologize, but I believe Rep. Akin's statement was so far out of bounds that he should resign the nomination for U.S. Senate in Missouri," Brown said.

"Todd Akin's statements are reprehensible and inexcusable," Johnson tweeted. "He should step aside today for the good of the nation."

Mitt Romney this morning called Akin's comments "inexcusable" and "wrong," but stopped short of calling for his resignation. A senior official in the Romney campaign said the candidate would not call on Akin to resign.

Shortly after Huckabee's interview, President Obama took the podium at a White House press briefing and called Akin's views "offensive."

"Rape is rape. The idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what type of rape we are talking about doesn't make sense to the American people and it certainly doesn't' make sense to me."

Obama said that Akin's comments demonstrated why "we shouldn't have politicians, most of whom are men, making decisions" about women's health.

He declined to comment specifically on Akin. "He was nominated by the Republicans of Missouri and I'll let them sort that out," Obama said.

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards denounced Akin's comment and it was an "egregious example" of legislators "making policy on women's health without understanding it."

The comments were quickly seized on by Democrats who tried to link Akin to the presumptive Republican presidential ticket, putting Romney and Paul Ryan on the defensive.

"As a woman I'm really concerned that Paul Ryan doesn't understand that rape is rape," Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, D-Fla., said this morning on CBS, accusing Ryan and Akin of teaming up last year to pass legislation that would redefine rape.

"It is beyond comprehension that someone can be so ignorant about the emotional and physical trauma brought on by rape," Sen. Claire McCaskill, D- Mo., the Missouri incumbent who is fighting for her reelection said in a statement. "The ideas that Todd Akin has expressed about the serious crime of rape and the impact on its victims are offensive."

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Aug122012

With Paul Ryan as Romney’s Running Mate, Democrats See New Attack Line in Local Races

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate for the presumptive Republican presidential ticket brought an immediate response from President Obama’s re-election campaign, but it could also have a trickle-down effect on several races in the battle for control of the Senate.

Ryan, a seven-term congressman from Wisconsin, has made waves in recent years with controversial budget proposals and his plan to overhaul Medicare.

Democrats have attacked Ryan for several years, especially since he became chairman of the House Budget Committee in 2010 after Republicans won a majority in the House, but now that Ryan is on the likely GOP presidential ticket, the attacks take on a whole new meaning.

Besides the ramifications of Romney’s decision on his own race, there’s also the question of the effect on the Senate races, where Republicans are hoping for a net gain of four seats in order to take back the majority, while also taking the White House and maintaining control of the House.

ABC News has identified six key toss-up Senate races this year: Massachusetts, Nevada, Virginia, Missouri, Montana and Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin. While it’s unclear how Ryan’s presence on the ticket will play out in any of these races, it’s becoming clear that Democrats will be using this latest development as an attack line going forward.

Virginia

Polling has found the Virginia senate race to be neck and neck, and with the presidential race very tight there as well, both candidates have approached their parties’ nominees with a sense of caution — they’re open in their support, but it’s not always highlighted, and it’s not always unwavering. Democratic Senate candidate Tim Kaine has highlighted his difference of opinion with Obama on off-shore drilling, for example.

Like many other Democrats, it appears as though the Kaine campaign sees an opportunity to hurt their opponent, former Virginia Sen. George Allen, by tying him to Ryan’s plan. Allen was present at the Romney-Ryan announcement, and Kaine quickly released a statement hitting him for having a fiscal approach that would “gut Medicare resources for millions of American seniors.”

“By standing with Paul Ryan today, George Allen continues to embrace a plan that would force hundreds of thousands of Virginia seniors to pay nearly $6,000 more each year in health care. Budgets are about priorities and George Allen’s approach would gut Medicare resources for millions of American seniors, devastate investments for education and infrastructure that grow our economy, while defending irresponsible tax breaks for the wealthiest that ballooned our deficit and drove up our debt,” Kaine for Virginia spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine said in a statement.

Missouri

Missouri is considered to be a safe bet for Republicans in this presidential cycle — Obama is unpopular and polling has consistently found Romney with a strong lead. Recent polls have shown incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in trouble (although Democrats have been buoyed by victory of Rep. Todd Akin in the Republican primary last week, as conventional wisdom suggested he was the easiest candidate for McCaskill to beat) and she’s been the target of attacks from outside groups for a long time.

McCaskill appears to view the Ryan announcement as an opportunity for a new attack line on Akin. Today she tweeted “the part of Ryan-Akin budget I hate the most? Cutting Medicare and then giving those cuts to the mega wealthy. Wrong.” Expect McCaskill, who is frequently described by her colleagues as a fighter, to hit hard with this new messaging.

Massachusetts

Republican incumbent Scott Brown has stayed away from Mitt Romney thus far; as a Republican running in a Democratic heavy state, Brown will need at least some Obama voters to cross over and vote for  him. Brown voted no on the Ryan budget in Congress, and he even went so far as to pen an op-ed in Politico explaining his reasoning, so he should in theory be able to withstand any attacks from Elizabeth Warren, his Democratic opponent, tying him to the controversial proposal.

“While I applaud Ryan for getting the conversation started, I cannot support his specific plan — and therefore will vote ‘no’ on his budget,” Brown wrote in an op-ed in Politico in May 2011.

“Why can’t I go along with the Ryan Medicare plan? First, I fear that as health inflation rises, the cost of private plans will outgrow the government premium support — and the elderly will be forced to pay ever higher deductibles and co-pays,” he wrote. “Protecting those who have been counting on the current system their entire adult lives should be the key principle of reform.”

For now, it appears as though Warren is not attempting to tie her opponent directly to the budget, but reiterate her ties to Obama.

“The choice is clear,” Warren said in a statement. “Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will work to make the rich and powerful, richer and more powerful. I’m standing with President Obama to work for our families, to invest in our kids, and to give our small businesses a fighting chance to succeed because I believe that’s how we build a strong foundation for our future.”

Nevada

Nevada’s economic woes are well documented, and the Romney campaign hopes that said woes will put the state in the Romney column,  and the same hope exists down ballot in the tight senate race between incumbent Sen. Dean Heller and Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley. Heller voted for the Ryan budget twice — once in the House, once in the Senate — and Berkley’s campaign has already been attacking him for it.

For Berkley, who is under formal investigation from the House Ethics Committee after being accused of using her office to help her husband’s medical practice (she saved a Las Vegas area kidney transplant center, a move that appears to have benefited her husband who is a kidney specialist), the Ryan announcement could be a welcome opportunity to shift the focus. Expect Berkley to continue to charge her opponent with supporting a plan that “would end Medicare as we know it.”

Montana

Democrats have already begun to highlight an ad released by Montana Republican Senate candidate Denny Rehberg earlier this year in which the candidate specifically called out Ryan’s budget as potentially harmful to seniors.

“Rehberg refused to support a Republican budget plan that could harm the Medicare programs so many of Montana’s seniors rely on,” the ad, titled “Montana First,” said.

Shortly after Romney’s announcement, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) sent out a press release highlighting that ad, and there’s no reason to believe they won’t continue to play up the comments.

Wisconsin

This is of course the state where Ryan’s presence on the ticket is most likely to boost Republican’s chances of winning the senate seat. The Republican candidate is not yet known in this race- the primary will take place Tuesday and a challenger for Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin will emerge from a crowded field. Republicans hope Ryan’s presence on the ticket will boost turnout for Romney in the presidential race and turn the state red for the first time in a presidential election since 1984.

As it’s likely he’ll be campaigning in Wisconsin a lot, Ryan can be expected to hit the stump at least a couple of times for the chosen Republican Senate candidate, and his presence in the race could be the boost Republicans are hoping for across the board.

It’s important to note that the population of residents 65 and over in these states is within a couple percentage points of the national average of 13 percent in each instance, so there is not an obvious state where just in terms of numbers, Ryan’s presence could be a concern.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul302012

Scott Brown Ad Features Footage of Foreign Businesses

Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images(BOSTON) -- It was a web ad with a patriotic message that went viral. But it turns out that the web ad released by Scott Brown campaign for the Massachusetts Senate race last week --  “Let America Be America Again” -- featured some scenes that were shot in Europe.

The two and a half minute ad is a critique of comments made by Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren in 2011 which echo President Obama's now infamous "You didn't make that" comments regarding successful American businesses. The Brown ad features video of past presidents talking about free enterprise, interspersed with footage of businesses throughout the country and, it turns out, in Ireland and Spain too.

The Boston Globe reported that the ad, which has received over 800,000 hits since it was released, features stock footage of small business. One scene -- about a minute into the video -- features a man standing outside of O’Connor’s Family Butchers. O’Connor’s, it turns out, is located in Dublin, Ireland. Another shot features a man standing inside a restaurant kitchen -- a kitchen which is in Barcelona.

The Brown campaign had no comment.

Why are these foreign businesses featured in the ad? The images are licensed to Getty Images, which sells stock footage used by thousands of companies here and abroad, so logic dictates the footage was an easily-explainable situation writ larger by Team Warren to try to dig up something negative about the very successful ad against its candidate.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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