Elizabeth Warren, a lawyer who is an expert in bankruptcy law and the woman responsible for the creation for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is the Democratic candidate for the US Senate in Massachusetts. She is running against incumbent Scott Brown, aka Senator McDreamy. Brown, a Republican, won Ted Kennedy’s senate seat in a special election in 2010. He was helped in his bid to win the election by the Tea Party, lots of campaign contributions from big banks, and Martha Coakley—his Democratic opponent who proved to be a truly inept political campaigner.
We have had a number of discussions on the Turley Blawg about Brown’s opponent Elizabeth Warren this year (here, here, here, and here). I thought it time to shed some light on Scott Brown who has focused much of his campaign talk calling into question Elizabeth Warren’s credibility because of her claim that she has Native American ancestry.
Brown has been criticized by Warren—as well as by other democrats, Massachusetts residents, and members of the news media—because he has spent so little time discussing substantive issues that are of true import to his constituents and to this country.
In a radio interview with Jim Braude and Magery Eagen on WTTK-FM in June, Brown defended himself against accusations that his campaign has not focused on serious issues. He claimed that he had had “secret meetings” with royal figures. Brown said, “Each and every day that I’ve been a United States senator, I’ve been discussing issues, meeting on issues, in secret meetings with kings and queens and prime ministers and business leaders and military leaders, talking, voting, working on issues every single day.”
You can hear the quoted excerpt from Brown’s interview in the following video:
The senator’s comments about his meetings with royalty “were roundly mocked by Democrats.” Brown’s campaign later acknowledged that the Senator “misspoke” when he claimed to have had meetings with kings and queens. In an email to The Boston Globe, Brown spokesman Colin Reed wrote that “Senator Brown was speaking generally about private meetings he has had with foreign and domestic leaders. Reed also admitted that Brown, “who has made his reputation as a truck-driving everyman, has not met with any royalty.”
Well, all politicians have a slip of the tongue every once in a while and misspeak, don’t they? The interesting part of this story is that Democrats dug up proof that Brown “misspoke” about having had meetings with royalty several times in the past—and someone who has been tracking Brown recorded all his “slips of the tongue.” Democrats even made a campaign video on the subject:
Rachel Maddow of MSNBC coined a new term for what Brown did: fumblebrag. She explains what a “fumblebrag” is on the following video:
This isn’t the first time that Brown has been caught saying or doing something that he or his staff have had to backtrack on later. Last fall, The Boston Globe reported that a Democratic group called American Bridge 21st Century had “unearthed a bit of inspirational autobiography on Republican Senator Scott Brown’s official website that was lifted verbatim from Elizabeth Dole’s website.” Brown used language that had originated in a campaign speech that Dole had given. According to the paper, Brown used “the exact words as remarks delivered by the former North Carolina senator at her campaign kickoff in 2002” in a message to students.
“I was raised to believe that there are no limits to individual achievement and no excuses to justify indifference. From an early age, I was taught that success is measured not in material accumulations, but in service to others. I was encouraged to join causes larger than myself, to pursue positive change through a sense of mission, and to stand up for what I believe.’’
The Boston Globe: Aside from the omission of an opening line – “I am Mary and John Hanford’s daughter’’ – in Dole’s speech, the Bay State Republican’s language is the same throughout.
A spokesman for Brown told the Globe that Dole’s website, where her speech had been posted, was “one of the models” for Brown’s site, and that “during construction of the site, the content on this particular page was inadvertently transferred without being rewritten.”
That’s not the end of Brown’s missteps. Earlier this week, Brown made another claim during an interview on CNN that had to be “walked back” by his staff. Quoting Brown: “I can name a litany of Democratic-sponsored bills that I’ve done that never would have passed hadn’t it been for me. And the president had called me, and vice president calls me, and Secretary [of State Hillary Rodham] Clinton calls asking for my vote all the time.”
As reported by Glen Johnson in The Boston Globe yesterday, Brown’s staff admitted that the senator has spoken by phone with Secretary of State Clinton just twice since he took office and spoken to her in person twice—when she addressed a group of senators on the uprisings in Egypt and Libya in February and March of 2011.
Regarding Brown’s conversations with Vice President Biden: Brown’s staff says he has spoken with the vice president by phone just once. That happened around December 2010, when Biden joined Clinton in trying to round up votes for the New START Treaty.” Biden and Brown have also met face-to-face twice—in February of 2010 when Biden swore him in and in March of the same year “when the vice president gave the then newly elected senator a tour of the White House and hosted him for lunch.”
Regarding Brown’s conversations with President Obama (The Boston Globe): As for Obama himself, Brown’s staff says the two have spoken by phone just once, in April 2010, when he called the senator from Air Force One to discuss immigration policy and seek his support for the Dodd-Frank financial regulation act.
But the president also hosted Brown in June 2010 for a face-to-face talk in the Oval Office. It was both a get-to-know-you session and a discussion of a variety of policy matters.
And the two have also seen each other on eight other occasions, as Brown attended bill-signing ceremonies, buttonholed the president as he left the State of the Union address, or, in September 2010, as the Boston College hockey team visited the White House after winning an NCAA championship.
Scott Brown has called into question Elizabeth Warren’s credibility. Do you think Brown’s credibility should be called into question by voters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts too?
Scott Brown Said He Met With Kings And Queens Before (Huffington Post)
Scott Brown Touts ‘Secret Meetings’ With Royalty (Huffington Post)
Brown campaign attributes plagiarism to ‘technical error’ (Boston Globe)
Brown’s staff walks back his claims – again (Boston Globe)