Remember that pledge made by Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren, to limit outside groups’ involvement in the race? It is now facing the first significant test by other groups — who are going around the deal’s blind spots.
As the Boston Globe reported on Tuesday, an anti-Brown group called RethinkBrown has rolled out on its web site a new section critical of Brown’s votes on key issues, and calling him a serial fence-sitter and flip-flopper who waits to see which way an issue is headed before taking a position.
This tactic is allowed by the pledge — and does not trigger the deal’s agreement that the benefitting campaign would donate 50% of the cost to charity — because the deal covers paid advertising on TV, radio and the Internet, and not a group simply making a post on its own site.
Brown communications director Colin Reed told the Globe: “This tactic of peddling lies and misinformation over the Internet by Professor Warren’s left-wing supporters certainly violates the spirit of the agreement, and we hope she would at least speak out against it. The voters of Massachusetts deserve better.”
And now, the Massachusetts GOP has posted a new Web video (which is also not covered by the agreement), depicting Warren as the rich and out of touch “Multi-Millionaire Professor Elizabeth Warren.”
TPM asked Warren spokesman Kyle Sullivan, does this exchange of blows meant that the pledge agreement was breaking down, or perhaps losing efficacy?
“Instead of diving even deeper in the Mitt Romney bag of political cheap tricks by twisting five words Elizabeth said completely out of their context for political gain, Senator Brown should be more worried about his own words and actions,” Sullivan responded. “Just the other day, Brown defended special tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, saying he opposed President Obama’s ‘Buffett rule’ which would have closed these special tax loopholes. And today, his state Republican Party launched a online attack ad the day after he criticized an outside group for providing information about his record on their web site.”
The Brown campaign did not respond to TPM’s request for comment.
In addition, a Nexis search showed that the Web video of Warren saying “I realize there are some wealthy individuals — I’m not one of them,” is in fact a sentence fragment from a larger quote, referring specifically to politicians with large stock portfolios, in an exchange last week on MSNBC with Lawrence O’Donnell:
“You know, I’m with you on this. Either don’t own it or put it in a blind trust, you know, where someone else manages it and you literally can’t see what’s in there. I realize there are some wealthy individuals — I’m not one of them — but some wealthy individuals who have a lot of stock portfolios. But you’re exactly right. I don’t understand how people can be out there in the House, in the Senate, they get inside information and they’re making critical decisions. We need to feel like they’re making those decisions on our behalf, not as an investor who would do better if the law goes this way instead of that way. I agree.”