campaign notebook

In online chat, Brown is brought into Chick-fil-A fray

Senator Scott Brown answered queries during his live chat with participants on Friday.
david l. ryan/globe staff
Senator Scott Brown answered queries during his live chat with participants on Friday.

Senator Scott Brown, who has earned kind words from Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino despite their differing political parties, treaded carefully Friday when asked during a chat about the mayor’s spat with Chick-fil-A over its opposition to gay marriage.

“I disagree with what the CEO from Chick-fil-A said. I was glad he spoke further and said that his company does not discriminate,” Brown wrote from his South Boston campaign headquarters.

Noting that Massachusetts has strong antidiscrimination laws that could prevent problems should the company decide to set up shop in Boston, Brown added, “If they move forward with the location proposal, I trust the mayor and other officials will ensure that those laws are honored.”


Dan Cathy, president of the Atlanta-based company, told the Baptist Press earlier this month that Chick-fil-A is “guilty as charged” for being a supporter of organizations rallying against same-sex marriage.

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His statement prompted a reaction from some gay rights groups. Menino got involved a week ago when he wrote to Cathy and told the company, which is planning a restaurant across the street from City Hall, that it wasn’t welcome in Boston.

The mayor backed off this week, conceding that he cannot legally prevent the company from opening in Boston but is allowed to use the bully pulpit of his office to rally opposition to its beliefs.

In his answer Friday, Brown did not address whether he felt the chain should open a restaurant in Boston.

Menino has pointedly withheld his endorsement of fellow Democrat Elizabeth Warren as she challenges Brown, a Republican, for reelection. Brown has cultivated support from the mayor, and played up the bipartisan theme at several points during the 45-minute chat.


Warren participated in a similar chat on June 22.

Asked by reader “Lindsay” why he opposes a national assault weapons ban even in the aftermath of the Aurora, Colo., mass shooting, Brown noted that he voted for such a ban for Massachusetts while in the state Senate.

“I believe that states should make these decisions like we have,” Brown said. “Incidentally, I was proud to get the endorsement of gun control advocate, independent NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, because of my stance on concealed carry.”

Bloomberg announced his endorsement of Brown on Thursday, citing the senator’s opposition to the National Rifle Association’s Right-To-Carry Reciprocity Act. It would allow gun owners to carry concealed weapons across state lines.

Meanwhile, in response to a question about the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory act, Brown said he was “proud to be the deciding vote” during its 2010 passage.


But records show that after he voted for the law, the senator worked to shield banks and other financial institutions from some of its tough provisions.

As the Globe previously reported, e-mails between Brown’s legislative director and US Treasury Department officials show that Brown advocated for a loose interpretation of the law so that banks could more easily engage in high-risk investments.

During the chat, Brown wrote: “My work on the reform bill was designed to protect Mass. jobs and ensure that those institutions that did nothing wrong were not unfairly impacted by the provisions of the bill. I was proud to work and vote with other members of the delegation to protect Mass. jobs.”

A questioner named “Todd” also asked Brown how his 32-year tenure in the National Guard informed his service on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“As a result of serving in Afghanistan, I was able to learn that when we contract with the enemy we cannot terminate that contract without a lot of legal problems,” Brown wrote. “[New Hampshire Senator Kelly] Ayotte and I filed an amendment to make sure that if we learn that we are contracting with the enemy, we can terminate said contract and recoup the funds.”


Warren ad cites China; Brown gets Flynn backing

Elizabeth Warren, surrounded by workers in battered hard hats and fluorescent vests, argues in a new television advertisement released Friday that America should follow China’s lead and invest more in its crumbling roads and bridges.

“Why aren’t we rebuilding America?” Warren, a Democrat who is challenging Senator Scott Brown, says in the spot. “Our competitors are putting people to work, building a future. China invests 9 percent of its GDP in infrastructure. America? We’re at just 2.4 percent.”

“We can do better,” Warren adds. “We can build a foundation for a strong new economy and get people in Massachusetts to work right now.”

The ad is part of Warren’s effort to promote her “Rebuild Now” plan, which calls for, among other things, a national infrastructure bank and wider access to high-speed Internet service.

The spot is also designed to appeal to blue-collar voters, a key constituency that Brown, a Republican, is courting with a new ad he released the same day.

Brown’s ad features Raymond L. Flynn, the former Democratic mayor of Boston, who has also endorsed Mitt Romney for president, praising Brown as an honest, hard-working “regular guy.”

“I’m a Democrat but I’m tired of all the polarization, the pettiness, the bickering,” Flynn, seated in the living room of his South Boston home, says in the ad. “Scott Brown is a person that you can work with.”


Michael Levenson