During their first debate, I did not think Scott Brown acquitted himself well against Elizabeth Warren.
This was not the case during their second debate tonight at UMass Lowell which was moderated by David Gregory of NBC’s Meet the Press.
Brown was far more confident, relaxed, self assured and, unlike the first debate, had Warren on the defensive concerning her alleged Native American heritage, her role with LT Steel and Travellers Insurance and her hypocrisy on the Buffett Rule. He was also able to handle Gregory’s questions about distancing himself from Mitt Romney quite effectively emphasizing that he did not work for either Obama or Romney but the people of Massachusetts.
Brown also pulled a Newt Gingrich and challenged Gregory. At the outset of the debate, Gregory said there were no debate rules. But when Brown wanted to respond to a criticism by Warren, Gregory demanded he answer his question about Mitch McConnell. Brown said he would answer the McConnell question after he responded to Warren. Gregory demanded he answer the McConnell question but Brown stood firm winning applause from the audience (which I would say was mostly pro-Warren) and Gregory relented.
Warren didn’t help herself concerning the Native American issue by saying she answered a question at a noisy press conference she didn’t hear. Brown countered that it took her five weeks to correct himself.
Warren also had an awkward moment when Gregory asked her which Republican in the Senate to whom she could reach out.
Her reply? Dick Lugar.
Well, easy for Warren to admire a Republican who will soon no longer be in the Senate. Aside from saying she agreed with Republicans on reforming Fannie & Freddie, she could not name a single Republican with whom she would be willing to work.
Yes, it’s true that Brown also spoke of his admiration for Lugar as well as the dynamic duo of Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. For good measure, Brown also said he would support John Kerry being named Secretary of State praising his “good knowledge of foreign affairs.” This would be the Kerry who has been Assad’s biggest apologist. But then again this is Massachusetts. Bay State voters have elected Kerry to the Senate six times. So while Brown’s praise of Kerry might not sit well with conservatives, it will help with Massachusetts voters.
On the other hand, when Brown was asked which Supreme Court justice he admired most he was booed when he mentioned “Scalia.” Seconds later he went down the line from Kennedy to Roberts to Sotomayor. The booing didn’t die down. I know Brown is selling himself as bi-partisan but Massachusetts wants a liberal Senator then they’ll pick the real liberal.
Still, I think Brown got the better of Warren and I suspect more people probably watched this debate than the first debate. I am sure the Brown campaign is far happier now than it was ten days ago.