DANVERS - Calling for a bipartisan effort to create jobs in the face of an increasingly divided Congress, Senator Scott Brown reaffirmed his commitment last night to cutting the size of government, supporting business, and cutting the corporate tax rate.
In a 15-minute address before the North Shore Chamber of Commerce, he veered little from familiar Republican narratives, and called for the private sector, unencumbered by government taxation or regulation, to lead the nation from the economic doldrums.
“I will never demonize you as business leaders or business owners for the work you do or the opportunities you create,’’ Brown said, drawing applause from the 500 who packed the ballroom of a Danvers hotel and water park. The crowd was the largest for the chamber’s annual dinner since Brown’s predecessor, the late Edward M. Kennedy, spoke to the group in 2004.
“I think we should not be blaming you,’’ he said to the crowd. “We should be thanking you for everything that you’re trying to do to get us out of this economic mess.’’
Brown also lamented the gridlock that has plagued Capitol Hill, saying that bipartisanship is too often undermined by political theatrics.
Brown said there was support from 60 senators for his amendment that would have struck from the jobs legislation a 3 percent withholding tax on payments to government contractors. But Senate Democrats persuaded enough colleagues to vote down the measure.
In the speech and during a brief interview, Brown did not mention his reelection campaign, and he deflected a question about recent comments made by Elizabeth Warren in which she took credit for the intellectual foundation of the Occupy movement, which protests the widening wealth gap and the bailout of big banks.
“There is clearly frustration about the lack of jobs progress, on moving the economy forward,’’ Brown said. “I don’t think the answer to that is attacking the job creators and criticizing our free-market economy.’’
He also sidestepped commenting on Alan Khazei’s decision yesterday to bow out of the Democratic primary race.
Asked whom he would prefer to run against, Brown made no mention of a challenger’s name.
“I have no preference,’’ he said. “I’m out doing my job. I’m not worried about what the other party is doing.’’