US Senator Scott Brown Thursday boarded a massive blue bus emblazoned with an image of the senator in his barn jacket, setting off on a road trip to rally supporters at stops in Milford, North Grafton, Framingham, North Billerica, and Wakefield.
As Brown rode from stop to stop with a smiling band of supporters that included his wife and daughters, the family dogs (one with its leg in a cast), comedian Lenny Clarke, and US Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, he continued to project his theme of bipartisanship.
At three of the events he held up a sign bearing his final campaign slogan: “People Over Party,” while he and Collins each spoke of their work with Democrats and of the dwindling ranks of members of Congress who are willing to cross the partisan divide.
“We don’t need another extreme person down there,” Brown said. “We need problem-solvers, people who can work together, putting people over party. That’s what this is about.”
But the giant bus was also a target for Brown’s opponent, Democrat Elizabeth Warren, who in a new radio ad lampooned Brown for taking the tour rather than agreeing to reschedule a long-planned debate that had been postponed due to Hurricane Sandy.
“Scott Brown backed out of his final debate with Elizabeth Warren,” an announcer says in the Warren ad. “Rather than discuss the issues, he had to grab a bus. With his record, you can’t blame him for hitting the road.”
Told about Warren’s criticism that he was ducking the debates, Brown blamed the hurricane. “We had a storm. Two days, there’s still people without power,’’ he said. “We did three major debates.”
Warren, meanwhile, spent Thursday afternoon trying to counter Brown’s bipartisan pitch, in short speeches outside restaurants in Quincy and Brockton and at a planned evening campaign rally in New Bedford.
“This race is about how we build a future,” she said at McKay’s Breakfast and Lunch in Quincy. “The Republicans have laid out their vision for the future: Cut taxes for those at the top and let everybody else take their lumps. We are a better people than that.”
Warren urged her supporters to get like-minded voters to the polls Tuesday. “Please be part of this,” she said. “Volunteer. Talk to people. Talk to people in the grocery store. Talk to people in the diner. . . . We have built this campaign together, and it is together that on Tuesday we’re going to win.”
Back on the bus tour with Brown, Collins told more than 100 spectators at the Olde Post Office Pub in North Grafton that the election is important far beyond Massachusetts.
“We need more senators just like Scott who are willing to work across party lines,” she said, “who have a pragmatic, common-sense approach to the issues, who recognize that it’s more important that we focus not on whether something is Republican or Democrat, but that it’s American.”
Later, more than 200 people gathered inside VFW Post 88 in North Billerica where Brown, too, rallied supporters to turn out the vote.
“Do not go to bed on Nov. 6 without fulfilling your mission,” he said. “I can’t do it alone.”
Mark Arsenault can be reached at email@example.com.