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.
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.