Elizabeth Warren rolled over Scott Brown in their second debate as the incumbent lost his cool, and cracks started to show in his moderate pseudo-Democrat facade.
Here is the full debate:
The debate was moderated by David Gregory of Meet The Press who quickly revealed that he wasn’t interested in substance.
The first question went to Elizabeth Warren, and she was asked if she considers herself a minority. Warren delivered much of the same answer that she gave in the first debate that she is a person who has a Native American background. Gregory asked Scott Brown if he thought she was lying, and he first tried to pivot to jobs, and then claimed that Warren self-reported and changed her nationality. Brown also tried to claim that she has changed her heritage. Gregory asked Brown if Warren benefited from this, Brown dodged and called for Warren to release her personnel records. (So far, Brown is using the same attack that didn’t work in the first debate. If this attack was designed to put Warren on the defensive, it isn’t working.)
Sen. Brown admitted that this wasn’t a disqualifying issue, but he claimed that Warren has misled the voters. Nearly ten minutes passed, and Sen. Brown was still spinning his wheels on the heritage issue. Warren confronted Brown directly and told him that he was wrong about her misleading voters. Scott Brown’s line of attack was that Warren is untrustworthy because she “misled” the voters.
David Gregory asked both candidates about the clients they represented while they were attorneys. Brown claimed to have released a list of clients he represented as an attorney, but Gregory and Warren said that neither one of them have seen it. Brown claimed that he made it clear last week, and then tried to pivot to painting Warren as someone who represented corporations. Brown brought up LTV Steel. (So far, this debate has been devoid of issues. Brown has been focused on attacking Warren’s character.) Gregory came back to Brown releasing a list, and the senator admitted, sort of, that there isn’t one. Warren called out Brown for trying to dodge talking about his record by making charges against her. Warren stood by taking on corporate clients, and said that she was working for asbestos victims.
Brown continued his personal attacks on Warren by claiming that she got paid 1/40 of what the asbestos victims got. Scott Brown then claimed he is working for union members. Brown is so pro-union that he voted to filibuster healthcare benefits for 9/11 first responders. Brown also voted against putting teachers and firefighters back to work.
Unlike their first debate, Brown and Warren were dragged down by David Gregory’s obsession with controversy. Scott Brown lapsed into his pseudo-Democrat, I am an Independent talking points again, and Warren responded by calling out Brown for telling Republicans around the country a totally different story, and raising money by telling members of his party to vote for him, so that the GOP can take control of the Senate and block Obama’s agenda.
Warren then hammered Brown for voting against jobs bills and voting in lockstep with the Republicans. Warren pointed to three separate votes where Brown voted with his party against killing jobs, and topped it off by pointing out his 16 votes against unemployment insurance. While Brown was speaking Warren tried to respond, and Sen. Brown got booed for cutting Warren off by saying, “Let me respond. I’m not a student in your classroom.” Brown claimed that all of those jobs bills would raise taxes so he voted against them. He said nothing about voting against extending unemployment insurance.
The topic turned to taxes and Brown said he won’t raise taxes. Brown danced around and call himself bipartisan again, and Warren hammered him for signing the Norquist tax pledge refusing to raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires. Warren hit Brown on supporting oil subsidies, and she leveled him for holding tax cuts for the 98% hostage unless taxes were cut for the 2%. Scott Brown got jeered by the crowd again by claiming that cutting subsidies for big oil would lead to higher gas prices. The debate segment ended with Brown finally admitted proudly that he is a fiscal conservative.
The topic turned to immigration, and Brown got a mixed reaction from the audience by stating that he opposes the Dream Act. Warren got mostly cheers for saying she supports the Dream Act and comprehensive visa and immigration reform.
Scott Brown stalled when asked who his model Supreme Court justice is. He stumbled and stammered and refused to pick a single justice. Warren picked Elena Kagan. Gregory asked Warren why the state has never elected a woman governor or senator. She said, “I don’t know, but I’m trying to do something about that.”
Brown used his closing statement to play the moderate card. Warren used her closing remarks to point out that on the tough votes Brown votes with his party, and he is not there for women, seniors, and working families.
Scott Brown is in big, big, big trouble in this race. Sen. Brown’s campaign is centered around personal attacks on Warren because there are too many votes in record that contradict the idea that he is a bipartisan senator. Warren handled the attacks against her very well. One of the things that stands out about both of her debate performances is that she has been pretty much unflappable.
Warren is pushing Brown to the right in these debates, and she is forcing him to own conservative positions. Each of these debates has revealed that Scott Brown can’t defend his record. The more he is pushed, the more he falls apart. Scott Brown seemed desperate. He recycled some of his same ineffective lines from the first debate while ramping up the attacks on Warren.
Here was Scott Brown’s night in a nutshell:
Polling shows that these attacks aren’t working. Warren is maintaining her small lead, and definitely has the wind at her back in Massachusetts. Obama could end up winning the state by 30 points, and Brown could be swept up in a blue Obama tidal wave. Elizabeth Warren is getting stronger as this campaign goes on, while Scott Brown seems to be hanging on for dear life.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA.Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association