Sen. Scott Brown still has a tall order ahead of him: Win re-election in a deep-blue state during a presidential year. But after running neck and neck with Democrat Elizabeth Warren, Brown has opened up a lead, according to a new poll Tuesday.
Brown’s well-executed balancing act is a big reason why: On a variety of issues, Brown has moved deftly and consistently to blunt any opportunities for Democratic nominee Elizabeth Warren to gain the upper hand with liberal Massachusetts voters.
The latest example: Brown urged the Republican National Convention’s platform committee on Tuesday to consider a more inclusive stance on abortion, just days before the party is supposed to unite in support of its vision, and its nominee, Mitt Romney.
Brown wrote in a letter Tuesday:
The Party platform is, of course, not a platform for every Republican candidate. In Massachusetts, I’ll be running on my own platform, and focusing on how to create jobs and get our economy moving again, strengthening our employer community by keeping taxes low and reducing burdensome regulations, and controlling spending through passage of a balanced budget amendment.
But the Republican Party would be well-served to recognize in its platform that you can be pro-choice and still be a good Republican. I hope you and the Platform Committee will recognize this reality as you finalize this year’s Platform document.
Brown was the first Republican officeholder this week to demand that Rep. Todd Akin should drop out of the Missouri Senate race in the controversy over Akin’s false comment about rape and pregnancy — getting out ahead of what later became a crush of virtually the entire Republican Party calling for Akin to abandon his bid.
But going back much further, Brown also broke with the GOP on the effort to block the nomination of Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, robbing Warren of the chance to put any daylight between herself and Brown on her marquee cause as the GOP was seeking to shut down the bureau itself. The CFPB was Warren’s brainchild, and she was President Obama’s first nominee. Brown supported the nomination in November 2011, and later supported President Obama’s recess appointment of Cordray.
During the standoff in December 2011 over the payroll tax cut, Brown openly criticized House Republicans for taking a hardline position.
Brown’s overall approach has been paying off: He led Warren in the latest PPP poll, 47.1 percent to 43.2 percent.