WASHINGTON -- Scott Brown thinks there's a reason that he's pulled ahead of Elizabeth Warren in their Senate contest: Massachusetts voters don't want a fighter or an intellectual who asserts any inspiration for Occupy Wall Street, the Republican senator told The Huffington Post.
Warren, the architect of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, surged in popularity and fundraising when she entered the race. But the last few polls have shown Brown in the lead, even with the eruption of culture war debates over contraception that might seem to give Warren an advantage.
What it shows, Brown said, is that Bay Staters want someone who just buckles down and works.
"The last three bills that have been passed have been mine," he said, apparently referring to his roles in moving the Hire a Hero Act, the Stock Act, and the repeal of a 3 percent withholding fee for federal contractors (or possibly the payroll tax cut measure).
"I'm not a rock thrower; I didn't create the intellectual foundation of Occupy Wall Street," he said, referring to comments that Warren made about her role in changing the debate over Wall Street abuses.
"I'm not going to be leaving blood and teeth on the floor; we've got plenty of people who want to do that right in here," he said on Tuesday, standing just off the Senate floor and using another quote of Warren's from when she told HuffPost that she'd rather just battle away at Wall Street than have a weak consumer finance watchdog.
"People seem to understand and remember why they voted for me and ... that I'm the second most bipartisan senator here. It's a good thing," he said, holding this up as a reason for his endorsement by Sen. Olympia Snowe, the Maine Republican who said she is retiring because of the poisonous partisan atmosphere in Washington.
"She recognized through her endorsement of me that they need people like me here who are going to be independent thinkers and keep an open mind on a whole host of issues. And that's exactly what I've done," said Brown, adding that Warren will be an ideological foot soldier for President Barack Obama.
"Every member of the [Massachusetts] delegation votes with their party 97 percent and above," he said. "She will be in lock step. She has said already there's not one thing she doesn't agree with the president on. So, yeah, she'll be just another rubber stamp. Everybody knows that."
Democrats could not deny Brown's position in the polls at the moment but suggested it was the result of his pandering to keep his job.
"Scott Brown is a typical politician who says whatever it takes to help himself get elected," said Matt Canter, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. "He has the wrong priorities -- protecting Wall Street, cutting Social Security and Medicare and fighting to cut taxes for the Mitt Romneys of the world. He can’t fix the problems in Washington because he is the problem."
Warren's campaign said that Massachusetts does want a fighter, someone who was willing to battle to create the consumer finance agency.
"Elizabeth Warren stands up for hard-working middle-class families and small businesses –- even when it means taking on Wall Street or big banks," said spokeswoman Alethea Harney. "She calls it as she sees it, always has, and that’s what she’ll do in the Senate for the people of Massachusetts. Unlike with Scott Brown, middle-class families won't have to wonder whether Elizabeth Warren will choose them over Wall Street."
Brown acknowledged that his edge at the moment might not last.
"There's going to be plenty of polls, up and down, but the only poll I care about is at the end, Nov. [6 at] eight o'clock. And then we'll know what's up," he said. "The bottom line is I'm going to just continue to do my job and remind people why they voted for me and also point out that, listen, I'm a problem solver; I'm here doing my job."
Michael McAuliff covers politics and Congress for The Huffington Post. Talk to him on Facebook.
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