Live Blog: Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown in First MA Senate Debate

The first Massachusetts Senate debate is tonight at 7PM Eastern. You can watch it on C-Span or on-line at CBSboston. For anyone who is in the Boston area, Elizabeth will be holding a post-debate rally at Adams Park in Roslindale at 3:30 pm on Friday.

Are you ready to rumble? Scott Brown almost wasn’t.

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.

This 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 tonight. 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.”

Ha ha ha! Brown hates debating. You just know he was hoping to avoid tonight’s match-up with a much smarter and more experienced opponent.

Steve LeBlanc at The Boston Globe suggested what each candidate needs to do tonight.

Brown must continue reaching out to independent, Democratic and women voters — three key demographics for any Massachusetts Republican candidate. He also must portray himself as an independent thinker who is not beholden to either political party.

Warren must deepen the voting public’s sense of familiarity with her while also protecting and increasing her support among women and Democrats. The Harvard law professor also must counter the image that she is out of touch with average voters.

Two candidates not on the stage could also play a role in the debate — President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

Warren needs to tie herself closely to Obama, who remains popular in Massachusetts and leads Romney by double digits in recent state polls. Brown, on the other hand, has to show independence from Romney and other Republican leaders.

And of course Brown needs to pretend that he barely knows Mitt Romney. He has been trying to do that ever since the secret tapes became a front page story a couple of days ago. Warren needs to find ways to tie Brown to his former pal Mitt Romney and his sneering, dismissive attitudes toward working- and middle-class Americans.

At MassLive, Shira Schoenberg gathered more recommendations from a number of Bay State political experts. I also think this post at Bloomberg is quite helpful.

When Republican Scott Brown and Democrat Elizabeth Warren debate for the first time today, both candidates vying to represent Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate will hold advantages capable of tipping the race.

Brown’s upset victory in 2010 for the post held by the late Ted Kennedy for almost 47 years was fueled by his debate performances against Attorney General Martha Coakley, who was considered a shoo-in before Brown stole the spotlight with his one-liners and what the Boston Globe called “pointed attacks.”

Warren’s rise from academic scholar to Democratic star grew from her fight to create a federal consumer protection agency and her success at translating complex political ideology into succinct campaign themes.

Elizabeth Warren is an expert debater.

She was 16 and living in Oklahoma, where she was born and raised, when she graduated from high school and attended George Washington University on a full debate scholarship that paid for her room, board, tuition, books and some spending money.

But Brown is good at throwing out provocative one-liners. According to political consultant Michael Goldman, Brown needs to convince voters he has done a good enough job in the the past two years to earn a full six-year term in the Senate.

Warren needs to tie Brown to the Republican Party and its standard-bearer Mitt Romney, who is very unpopular in the state. She will also point out the times he has sided with Wall Street and oil companies rather than the people of Massachusetts.

In the past five days there have been five polls of this race, with Warren leading in four and Brown in one. Warren also got an important endorsement today from Boston Mayor Tom Menino.

I hope those of you who can watch will help me live blog. It should be an interesting night.


100 Comments on “Live Blog: Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown in First MA Senate Debate”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    It looks like C-span will be live-streaming also, but I’m not sure which C-span channel will be running the debate.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Link to live stream

    It’s starting.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Brown turning on the charm. Doesn’t answer question, just talks to the camera.

    The question was, is the character of your opponent relevant? Now Brown attacks Warren on her claim to be 1/32 Native American.

    What an asshole.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Warren says she think Brown is a nice guy, and she isn’t going to question his character, just his votes on issues.

    She tells the story her parents and other relatives told her about her heritage.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Brown says “You’re a nice woman too.” But he wants her to release her personnel records.

    • dakinikat says:

      Elizabeth, you’re likeable enough!!! Show us your birth certificate!!! Throw in your breeding charts! (smirk, look at me, I can beat up on a girl!!!)

  6. bostonboomer says:

    Warren again saying she never used her heritage to get advantages. Those who have hired her have testified to that. This is about her family and she can’t change who she is.

    Brown still attacking. Warren says the question has been asked and answered, and he just doesn’t like the answer.

  7. bostonboomer says:

    Next question is about rising unemployment in MA. Warren can’t understand why Brown has voted against three jobs bills in the Senate that would have made a big difference in MA.

    We need to get people back to work in order to jump start the economy.

  8. bostonboomer says:

    Brown claims the jobs bills would have raised taxes. He says he’s working on jobs initiatives. Bla bla bla…

  9. bostonboomer says:

    Warren says the jobs bill would have been paid for with just a tiny increase in taxes on people with incomes more than $1 million.

    Brown says business are scared right now because of Warren’s policies.

  10. bostonboomer says:

    Warren says Brown is making up his numbers. “They’re not real.” There was a bill in Congress that would have cut taxes for middle class families but Brown voted against it because there weren’t enough tax breaks for the top 2%.

  11. bostonboomer says:

    Brown throws out the numbers again and Warren again says they are “made up numbers.” Brown has voted against three jobs bills and he has said he would not vote for ending Bush tax cuts for everyone instead of just ending them for the rich.

    Brown says he is not going to raise taxes. But he just said that he WOULD raise taxes on everyone.

  12. bostonboomer says:

    Unfortunately, I think Brown is actually coming across pretty well. Warren needs to come up with some sarcastic remarks that cut him down. I don’t know if she can.

    • Beata says:

      He keeps calling her “Prof. Warren” in a snide way ( you know those commie academics in their ivory towers! ). She needs to call him “Centerfold Brown”. I think she comes across as too nice.

      I agree Brown is doing well. He’s slick. Damn.

    • Seriously says:

      I don’t think she should go there, MA voters don’t like smart women who are sarcastic. She’s got to handle him very gently. Even the “nice guy” thing is risky, possibly a smart strategy, but she has to be careful to not give off the merest hint of sarcasm when saying it imo.

      • bostonboomer says:

        That’s sad. But you’re the expert. Do you think people will be turned off by Brown’s rudeness?

      • Seriously says:

        I hope so. She really needs to be careful, if he’s rude and she’s rude back then he’s the victim, but if she doesn’t react then hopefully he comes off as childish and a bully. Especially since I’m a nice guy (ha!) is pretty much all he’s got. She just needs to stick to her calm, explanatory tone and let him trip himself up. I liked that Barney pointed up Brown’s rudeness, because subliminally people know that she can’t blast him the way Barney could and maybe they’ll start to realize it’s unfair. He’s not as polished as Mitt, and frankly I’m not sure he’s smart enough to understand the narrative they’re trying to create so it’s more likely that he’ll flare up and go off script.

  13. bostonboomer says:

    Now asking about the fiscal cliff.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Scott ranting about not raising taxes, accuses Warren of wanting to raise taxes. He keeps repeating that 700,000 jobs would be lost if she gets her way. He has said that at least 20 times now.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Warren says we need to cut farm subsidies, end the war in Afghanistan, stop subsidizing big oil, make billionaires pay the same tax rate as their secretaries. But Brown votes against this balanced approach. He’s not serious about the problem.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Brown says anyone who wants to pay extra can check a box on their MA tax forms, but Warren doesn’t do that. Now ranting about gas prices.

  14. Boo Radly says:

    Tina Dupuy @TinaDupuy

    No one coached Brown on how not to seem like an insufferable prick. Yikes. #MASEN

    Tone seems sharp per the tweets I am reading. I have to have CC to know wht is being said.

  15. pdgrey says:

    BB, funny how he didn’t say he checked that box.

  16. ANonOMouse says:

    About the only thing Brown’s said to this point is Warren wants to spend your money! Pretty Lame

  17. bostonboomer says:

    Brown claims he fights for women’s right and is pro-choice. Warren points out that he co-sponsored the Blunt amendment and against equal pay for women.

    Brown says he’s going to stand up for Catholic women and Warren should stop scaring women. Patronizing jerk!

  18. bostonboomer says:

    Again he says that Warren has to stop scaring the poor silly women. He says she mischaracterized the Blunt amendment. Now explaining why he voted against equal pay for equal work because it interfere’s with businesses.

  19. bostonboomer says:

    Brown claims his stance is the same as Ted Kennedy’s. Warren says it’s inappropriate for Brown to say that. Ted K fought for hard women’s rights.

    Warren says women need someone they can depend on all of the time. Brown has voted against their interests.

  20. bostonboomer says:

    Question on Afghanistan. Brown brags about being in the National Guard. He supported Obama in the surge and the withdrawal, but he didn’t think there should be a cutoff date. Blames Obama for Libya, Egypt and Iran. President needs to come to Congress and work things out.

  21. bostonboomer says:

    Warren says all three of her brothers served in the military. Praises the U.S. military. We need to be careful what we are asking from them. We need to have a plan for invasion and also an exit plan. Praises Hillary’s philosophy of smart power.

  22. bostonboomer says:

    Brown: impressed with Warren’s brother who flew many missions and would love to talk to him about it.

    Iran–we need to prevent them getting a nuke and we have to do it ASAP. Warren agrees and says that Obama has already done a very good job on sanctions but keeping everything on the table. That’s that best way to work with Israel and protect Israel.

  23. bostonboomer says:

    Warren has said twice now that she wants Obama to be CIC. Brown says he agrees with Warren and then praises Clinton. Does that mean he supports Obama for prez?

  24. bostonboomer says:

    I need to take a short break. Be back soon.

  25. dakinikat says:

    Pretty Lame when he’s attacking her for her salary too. Like all profs are paid like Harvard profs … sheesh

  26. bostonboomer says:

    I don’t know what he’s talking about with Travelers’ Ins. I need to look it up.

    Warren says, “it’s just not true.”

  27. bostonboomer says:

    Audience question. Do you believe climate change is real. What can we do about it.

    Brown says yes, but he believes in using every type of power. Claims Warren only supports wind and solar.

  28. roofingbird says:

    Thanks for liveblogging BB, you know us dial ups can’t get live stream or C-Span.

  29. bostonboomer says:

    Brown has worked to tilt the playing field in favor of big oil companies. Warren says Brown has gone all over the country saying he’s fighting for control of the Senate. Warren says if Repub. control Senate Jim Imhofe would head of the energy committee.

  30. bostonboomer says:

    Imhofe believes global warming is a hoax.

  31. bostonboomer says:

    Brown says Warren is far left or something. He claims he is bipartisan. Warren says Brown’s votes in favor of oil companies speak louder than his lying words.

    (She didn’t say lying.)

  32. bostonboomer says:

    That’s all folks!

    • pdgrey says:

      This was fun watching this with you guys. So now the media spin starts.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      What do you think BB? Both are good debaters, but I wish Warren was a bit more aggressive. That’s the only thing that bothers me a bit about her style.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Brown did better than I expected. Keep in mind he beat up on Martha Coakley too. He’s a bully but he’s smooth about it.

      • Beata says:

        I hate to say this, but Warren did a lot of things visually that prevent women from being taken as seriously as men in politics and other professions: looking pleasantly at the man when he is speaking, nodding, smiling, tilting her head, etc. no matter what he is saying. Her soft southern accent may also hurt her in MA. She has the brains no doubt, but like I said above, she comes across as “nice”. That’s not the same as powerful. In a close race, visual impact can be very important.

        I wanted to have a different reaction to the debate, but I am being truthful about my impressions.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I felt the same way, Beata. She isn’t aggressive enough. Her arguments are good, but he told his lies with a lot of confidence and acted really condescending toward her.

  33. bostonboomer says:

    I’m not sure who won. Warren had the truth on her side, but Brown was more aggressive–also more rude and condescending. I’m not sure how viewers will react. I didn’t get to watch them closely because of trying to keep blogging.

  34. bostonboomer says:

    I’m extremely disappointed that the moderator didn’t ask anything about Mitt Romney.

  35. bostonboomer says:

    I think Ed Schultz is going to run clips and discuss the debate on his show now.

  36. How’d it go? Just need to catch up!

  37. pdgrey says:


    You know @ScottBrownMA is having a bad day when he falls back on “the truck.” #masen #WBZdebate

    • pdgrey says:

      EMILY’s List


      Interested in knowing Scott Brown’s ACTUAL record on women’s issues? #masen #wbzdebate

  38. bostonboomer says:

    Barney Frank is talking about Brown’s “snarky tone.” She made a great point about Jim Inhofe and Brown childishly said, “You’re not running against him, you’re running against me.”

    “He wouldn’t say the name Romney with a subpoena”

    • pdgrey says:

      Ha! I was also thinking, I loved when she brought Obama and Clinton and he praised Clinton but couldn’t praise his own candidate for president.

  39. NW Luna says:

    BB, thanks so much for blogging the debate! I hope Centerfold Brown has to look for a new job after Nov.

  40. dakinikat says:

    FACT CHECK: Scott Brown Says He’s ‘Not A Friend Of Big Oil’ After Voting To Give It $24 Billion

    • List of X says:

      That’s what is called “a friend with benefits”

      • dakinikat says:

        I’m beginning to think the ability lie is high on the list of republican candidate’s desired qualities. It comes right over ability to suspend brain so as to believe in magical thinking and ability to suspend heart functioning so you can happily ruin every one’s lives but rich white men and the women who are dependent on them.

  41. List of X says:

    Thank you for blogging this! I left work to listen to it on the car radio as soon as i found out (here) it’s starting, and then could not find it on air on any station.