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Brown releases pitch for women’s combat service, ends Kennedy ad

Scott Brown

associated press

Senator Scott Brown displayed a quote by the late senator Edward M. Kennedy during groundbreaking ceremonies for the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.

On a day when his leading Democratic opponent accused US Senator Scott Brown of taking a vote that put women’s health in jeopardy, the Republican released a new radio ad touting his support for allowing women to serve in combat. The ad is part of Brown’s regular series of ‘‘Scott Brown Radio Reports.’’

The previous ad in the series, which will now go off the air, drew controversy because Brown invoked Edward M. Kennedy in explaining his support for a measure that lets employers exempt health coverage for drugs or procedures if they have a moral objection to them. That measure, the so-called Blunt amendment, was narrowly defeated in the Senate yesterday, by a vote of 51 to 48, largely along party lines.

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Brown had declined to take the ad down earlier, despite a request from Kennedy’s son Patrick, a former Rhode Island congressman. Brown’s spokesman said yesterday that the previous ad ‘‘ran for a week, which is the usual cycle for the Scott Brown radio reports.’’

The senator said his support for the Blunt amendment was a religious liberty issue. His Democratic opponent, Harvard professor and consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren, said it was overly broad and would threaten health care for women and families.

Brown wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta last week, urging him to give women a larger role in combat. The new 60-second ad highlights his stance. ‘‘Here’s something you may not know,’’ Brown says in the ad. ‘‘One hundred forty women heroes have lost their lives serving our country in both Iraq and Afghanistan.’’

‘‘As lieutenant colonel still serving in the Army National Guard, I’ve worked alongside women and seen their professionalism and courage firsthand,’’ he adds. ‘‘Yet there still remains a formal ban on women on the front lines. It’s time to break through this ceiling.’’

Noah Bierman can be reached at nbierman@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @noahbierman.
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