With a new campaign video, Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts is hoping to use Elizabeth Warren’s viral video about the role of government in fostering business, the one that helped make her a star on the left, to paint her as an enemy of American free enterprise.
The Brown campaign’s video, “Let America Be America,” released Monday, links
Warren’s comments that “there is nobody in this country who got rich on his own,” with similar remarks later made by Obama that “if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.”
Both comments are then contrasted with statements by Democratic and Republican presidents — Kennedy, Johnson, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton — extolling the role of free enterprise, along with idyllic photos of children selling lemonade and other images conjuring success.
The video was not included in Brown’s rotation of paid television commercials, but restricted to the Internet, where viewership is driven by word-of-mouth and through media coverage.
While liberals have delighted in Warren’s and Obama’s direct talk about the role government plays and the responsibility of the wealthy to give back, conservatives have viewed it as antibusiness, a sign that both politicians are undervaluing the role of entrepreneurs, and soaking the rich to expand government.
Brown, a Republican, is counting on winning over independents, who may be suspicious of calls for further taxes and regulation suggested in the Democrats’ rhetoric.
“When you do well, everyone else does well,” Brown tells business owners in the video. “And I promise you this, I will never demonize you as business leaders and business owners for the work you do or the opportunities you create, — because I think we should not be blaming you — we should be thanking you.”
The most controversial element of the video is the use of Obama’s comment that “if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
Obama supporters say the comment has been taken out of context and that the president was speaking specifically about infrastructure.
Still, Obama was clearly challenging the notion that business people have achieved success solely on talent.
Brown’s strategy represents a subtle shift in the campaign’s dynamic.
Warren so far has been working to link her candidacy with Obama, given that he is expected to win big in Massachusetts, and that Democrats greatly outnumber Republicans in the state.
Brown, conversely, has tried to diminish the role of party politics and contrast his personal character and personality with that of Warren.
Potential Tierney opponent forgoes State House run
A political novice who has three Harvard degrees and served four tours of duty in Iraq has decided not to run against Representative John F. Tierney, the Salem Democrat who is already facing a stiff challenge from a Republican candidate.
Seth Moulton, 33, who grew up in Marblehead, said Monday that he commissioned a poll that suggested that, if he ran, he would have been in “almost a dead heat” with Tierney and the Republican candidate, Richard R. Tisei.
But Moulton said he decided it would have been too difficult to organize a full-fledged campaign with only three months until the November election. He was also facing a July 31 deadline to collect the 2,000 signatures needed to qualify for the ballot.
“It all just comes back to the logistics,” Moulton said. “There just isn’t enough time.”
A self-described “fairly centrist guy,” Moulton said he would have run as independent and would have caucused with the Democrats if he had won.
His entrance into the race could have upended what has been a two-man battle between Tisei, the former Republican leader of the state Senate, and Tierney, who has been battling questions about the offshore gambling ring that was run by his brothers in law.
Moulton’s candidacy could have siphoned off Democratic votes from Tierney, helping to elect Tisei, or it could have split the anti-Tierney vote, helping to reelect the incumbent congressman.