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When Flushed, Attack Rush


Well, he’s certainly gotten her attention.

One week before an Election Day that’s supposed to be a cake walk for the Democrats, Martha Coakley has gone negative on Scott Brown. How negative? Coakley’s using the “R” word.

No, not “race.” (Or “Reid,” for that matter.) “Republican.” And: “Rush.”

“Scott Brown is in lockstep with Washington Republicans like George W. Bush and Rush Limbaugh,” said Kevin Conroy, campaign manager for Martha Coakley for U.S. Senate. “His support for tax breaks for the wealthiest 1 percent is out of step with the views of Massachusetts voters.”

So begins the Coakley campaign’s press release announcing the negative ad. The TV spot features appearances by George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Rush Limbaugh.

As of 5:30 a.m., I had seen Coakley’s attack ad five times.

Looks like somebody’s nervous.

Coakley also attacked Brown repeatedly in Monday night’s debate, something she’s avoided until now. The “pretend Brown’s not there and maybe nobody will notice him” strategy is clearly out the door. When she’s given a free shot at him, Coakley’s targeting social issues like abortion.

But her most effective line of attack is probably just reminding people Brown is a Republican. Massachusetts Democrats have a 3–1 registration advantage, and voters here haven’t sent a Republican to Washington in about 15 years. Getting these blue-state voters to focus on Brown’s party affiliation — which he wisely underplays — will hurt his popularity.

Unfortunately for Coakley, she’s not in a popularity contest. She’s in a race to turn out voters in the middle of winter for a special election. In elections like these, passion trumps popularity. And by every measure, the Brown campaign has the passion.

Today, Coakley’s scheduled to appear at a lobbyist fundraiser in Washington, D.C. But yesterday, Scott Brown raised more than $1 million over the internet in just one day.

Every day, reports come in of Brown supporters showing up at campaign offices looking for signs and bumper stickers, only to be told “We’re out. Can’t keep them in.”

Bad news for disappointed supporters, but good news for the Brown campaign.


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