The Other McCain

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Scott Brown Meets the Press

Posted on | January 14, 2010 | 17 Comments

FITCHBURG, Mass.
“This is a big tent campaign,” Republican Scott Brown told reporters today at Boston’s Omni Parker House hotel. “I’m not into labels.”

Brown responded to questions about a Boston Globe story that distorted the Senate candidate’s remarks about the Tea Party movement.

Asked about the Globe’s assertion that he had claimed to be “unfamiliar” with the Tea Party movement, Brown donned glasses and re-read a transcript of his earlier remarks — see Ed Morrissey’s post at Hot Air — and clarified that he had been taking issue with a reporter’s assertion that the movement was attempting to “take over the country.” Brown called Tea Party supporters “patriotic.”

Brown is being pounded with $3 million in attack ads that repetitively label him a Republican and say he voted 96% with Republicans — a heavy burden in liberal Massachusetts.

In the wake of Monday’s debate, where Democrat Martha Coakley turned in what Brown spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom called a “shockingly poor performance,” Democrats and their allies have unleashed a barrage of negative ads against Brown.

In a subsequent radio interview on Howie Carr’s popular WRKO afternoon program, Brown called the Coakley attacks a “badge of honor” and predicted that the ads would prove ineffective.

“People know who I am . . . People are tired of business as usual,” Brown told Carr. “I’m having fun. . . . There’s no pressure on me.”

UPDATE: Photos from the press conference:

No fewer than six TV news cameras covered today’s event.

Byron York of the Examiner was among the reporters.

Brown is interviewed by Ted Reinstein of WCVB-TV — the same station that employs Brown’s wife, Gail Huff. Because of her husband’s candidacy, Huff has agreed to avoid reporting on politics and does not appear with Brown on the campaign trail.

Brown campaign spokesman Eric Ferhnstrom talks to reporters. If you think you see American Glob blogger Aleister in the background, that’s an optical illusion.

According to the Boston Globe, shortly after this photo was taken, Scott Brown ate this baby.

UPDATE II: Da Tech Guy describes our day. I left D.C. on the 3 a.m. train, arriving at Boston’s South Station shortly after 11 a.m. Da Tech Guy picked me up and we drove to Brown’s HQ in Needham. We had been there 5 minutes — talking to one of his phone bank volunteers — when out walks Scott Brown himself, carrying a sandwich.

After a hurried introduction, we were told the candidate was en route to a press conference in downtown Boston, so we jumped in the car and followed Brown’s silver Chevy SUV into town — just blocks from where Da Tech Guy had picked me up two hours earlier.

While I was inside the press conference, my cell phone started ringing — tres embarrassment — and it was Aleister of American Glob. He was looking for me, and when he arrived, we went back inside the press conference. Aleister describes the “gotcha” question about the Tea Party:

The one annoying question Brown got was from a reporter (I don’t know who she was with) who twisted herself into knots trying to make Scott Brown talk about about the Tea Party, a tactic which drew a surprising amount of groans and eye rolls from the other assembled journalists.

What that reporter was trying to do, it seemed, was to get Brown to publicly associated himself with the Tea Party movement — so that Coakley could then make that a campaign issue. And when Brown wouldn’t play that game, the reporter then asked, “So are you distancing yourself from the Tea Party movement?”

It was one of those situations where a reporter tries to make news, rather than just reporting the news. I’m reminded of when I covered Hillary Clinton the day after the North Carolina primary and the press corps kept peppering her with variations of the same question: “When are you going to quit, you loser?” You see that kind of behavior often enough, you understand why reporters are less popular than syphilis.

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