The Wild One

Elizabeth Warren stumbles as Scott Brown maneuvers in Massachusetts Senate race

Elizabeth Warren / Emily's List Twitter
August 21, 2012

Democratic Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren has been outmaneuvered by her opponent in recent weeks, as she has struggled to recover from a series of gaffes and mini-scandals.

Incumbent senator Scott Brown (R, Mass.) got the upper hand on Monday by seizing on Republican congressman and U.S. Senate nominee Todd Akin of Missouri’s comments on "legitimate rape."

"I found Todd Akin’s comments about rape victims outrageous and way over the line. He needs to apologize," Brown tweeted Monday morning, six minutes before Warren weighed in.

"I’m disgusted by Rep Akin’s remarks about rape. The GOP agenda for women isn’t just wrong. It’s dangerous," Warren tweeted, prompting Brown to call on Akin to resign his nomination as the Republican Senate candidate in Missouri.

"As a husband and father of two young women, I found Todd Akin's comments about women and rape outrageous, inappropriate and wrong. There is no place in our public discourse for this type of offensive thinking," Brown said in a statement—a preemptive move that defused Warren’s next attack.

"Warren pushes to align Brown w/ Akin & ‘the GOP agenda for women’ in news release, but Brown has already called on Akin to resign," tweeted Boston Globe metro political editor Cynthia Needham.

It was another in a series of disappointing defeats for Warren in recent weeks.

A photograph of Elizabeth Warren pretending to ride a motorcycle was posted to Twitter by the feminist group Emily’s List Sunday afternoon and quickly went viral. William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection compared the photo to the infamous image of former Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis riding in an Army tank during his ill-fated 1988 presidential campaign.

Warren’s campaign has also been haunted in recent weeks by a voter-registration controversy involving her daughter Amelia Warren Tyagi.

The far-left think tank Demos, which Tyagi founded and chairs, successfully sued to force the state of Massachusetts to send voter registration forms to 500,000 beneficiaries of state financial support. Brown said that the ploy was "clearly designed" to benefit Warren’s campaign, and that Warren should reimburse Massachusetts taxpayers for the $276,000 cost of the program.

The program outraged and energized Massachusetts conservatives.

"I think people are really disgusted by it," Paul Moore, campaign manager for Massachusetts Sixth District Republican congressional candidate Richard Tisei, told the Free Beacon. "There’s a lot of resentment about that."

"The fix is in, folks," wrote Rob Eno, publisher of the insider Massachusetts political blog Red Mass Group. "… Attorney General Martha Coakley needs to investigate what happened and bring charges for those that have conspired to rig an election."

Warren caused further controversy during a meet-and-greet at the Dorchester pub Harp and Bard August 14. Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi, who was present at the event, tweeted, "bartender said gov’s office called to set up #LizWarren event at Harp and Bard."

Mitt Romney’s campaign advisor Eric Fehrnstrom quickly retweeted Vennochi’s disclosure, saying, "That would be illegal," referring to the laws preventing Democratic Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick from using his office to organize campaign events.

"I reported accurately what the bartender said. … He was not joking, but I don't know if what he said is true. The governor's press office said it isn't," Vennochi told the Free Beacon.

A spokeswoman for Governor Patrick told the Free Beacon that "there must have been some misunderstanding," and that Patrick’s office did not organize the Warren event.

Amid the numerous controversies surrounding her campaign, Warren was profiled in a front-page Boston Globe feature Sunday titled "Warren’s politics rooted in academe," which presented what many readers called an extremely favorable portrait of the Democrat.

"I don’t understand. Where’s the ‘I’m Elizabeth Warren and I approve this message’ tag on this campaign ad," Massachusetts blogger Domenico Bettinelli tweeted in response.

"The Globe story effectively demolishes the myth that Warren tried to get ahead in the academic world by claiming Native American heritage" by interviewing professors and administrators favorable to the candidate, noted the pro-Warren liberal blog Blue Mass Group.

The Globe story also attempted to debunk allegations that Warren committed academic fraud during her time on the faculty of the University of Texas, according to Blue Mass Group.

Previously, the Boston Globe may have coordinated with Warren’s campaign to help stifle the Native American controversy, the Washington Free Beacon has reported.

"Everyone accepts that the message here is constantly filtered through a liberal media bias," said Massachusetts political consultant Brad Marston. "That’s one of the reasons Scott is doing the one-minute ‘Scott Brown Radio Reports,’ because it allows him to speak directly to voters without the media filter."

Brown has been making a conscious effort to bypass the Globe in his campaign messaging efforts, Marston noted.

Brown, meanwhile, is enjoying a successful streak with the Massachusetts business community.

"Last week was a pretty good week for Scott," Marston said. "He picked up the endorsements of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business."

"Monday kicks off his Provincetown-to-Pittsfield small business tour," Marston added. "He’s visiting small business, highlighting his focus on job creation."

"There are pockets in Massachusetts, a lot of towns, where the unemployment rate is in double digits," Marston said. "In Lawrence, for example, the unemployment is above 14 percent. People in those towns respond to Brown."

"For every Prius with a Warren sticker—I think that’s mandatory if you buy a Prius now—there are a lot more Taurses with a Brown sticker," Moore said.

The Warren campaign did not return a request for comment.