Elizabeth Warren released a new radio ad this morning that seizes on the controversy over Representative Todd Akin to attack the Republican Party. But the spot notably avoids mention of her Republican opponent, Senator Scott Brown.
The ad plays a clip of Akin, a Missouri Senate candidate, suggesting women’s bodies during “legitimate rape” may somehow be wired to avoid pregnancy.
“Just imagine if Republicans win the White House, or gain control of the US Senate,” a female narrator says in the ad.
The narrator then catalogues a list of potential fallout: “Already this year, Republicans in Congress blocked legislation to ensure women get equal pay for equal work. Republicans pushed for a law that could allow employers to deny women birth control coverage. Mitt Romney said he wants to get rid of Planned Parenthood. His running mate, Paul Ryan, cosponsored legislation that could outlaw birth control pills. And if Republicans control the Senate, they decide who sits on the Supreme Court and whether we could lose Roe v. Wade.”
“For women, there’s a real choice in this election,” the ad says.
The spot is part of a concerted effort by Warren to tie Brown to conservatives in the Republican Party. Earlier this week, Warren attacked Brown by name. But Brown remains personally popular in Massachusetts, according to polls, so attacking him by name in an ad may be risky. The attempt to draw a larger nexus between Brown and the Republican Party, and ultimate control of the Senate, is expected to be a major feature in the closing months of the campaign.
Brown has tried to insulate himself from such criticism. He was one of the first prominent Republicans to call on Akin to leave the race this week, a stance adopted by the party establishment.
Brown also says he favors abortion rights. But he has taken votes, including support of an amendment that would have allowed employers to deny health coverage for contraception, that have been vehemently opposed by abortion rights groups.
Two Democratic state senators, who held a conference call with reporters Wednesday morning, also attacked Brown for accepting a $1,000 donation in 2010 from Clayton Williams, a former candidate for governor of Texas. Williams drew controversy because he once said about rape: “As long as it’s inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it.”
After a report in Politico about the donation, Brown’s campaign said Tuesday that it could not verify that it was the same Clayton Williams, but would nonetheless donate $1,000 to Jane Doe Inc., which works against domestic violence and sexual assault.Noah Bierman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @noahbierman.