The heated Senate race in Massachusetts between incumbent Scott Brown and Democratic party darling Elizabeth Warren has produced its share of jabs, but as the campaign enters its final weeks Warren has a small lead in the most recent batch of polls, roughly 49% to 47%.
Disparaging remarks during the campaign often make the news cycle but are quickly forgotten. However, one comment by Senator Brown suggesting Warren used paid actors in an ad about workers exposed to asbestos has haunted the Republican candidate.
In the ad, John English describes how he lost his father to mesothelioma. After being asked by the Taunton Daily Gazette about the commercial during a campaign event, Sen. Brown said the following:
“A lot of them are paid,” Brown said during the event. “We hear that maybe they pay actors. Listen, you can get surrogates and go out and say your thing. We have regular people in our commercials. No one is paid. They are regular folks that reach out to us and say she is full of it.”
John English, who appeared in the ad, responded via the Warren campaign.
“Let Scott Brown tell me to my face that I am nothing but a paid actor, and I’ll set him straight on what it was like to watch my father suffocate to death,”
Warren also took to Twitter to respond to Brown’s bogus claim.
— Elizabeth Warren (@elizabethforma) October 17, 2012
Last week, following many stories about the indiscretion, Brown apologized for the comments.
“It was wrong for me to have jumped to those conclusions and I apologize to those I offended,” Brown said Wednesday.
Yet in a race that appears to be coming down to the wire, this foot-in-mouth moment for Brown — one of many, just to be clear — may be remembered as the way in which a once rising star talked his way into becoming a one-term Senator. With a challenger as formidable as Warren, there is no room for error.