Probing for weakness, Democrats are piling on the gaffe made by Sen. Scott Brown this week, who said he had seen photos of Osama bin Laden’s corpse that were not, in fact, actual photos of the slain Al Qaeda leader.
Brown, Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, and other senators were duped by phony images, although it remains unclear how they obtained them.
For Democrats, the Massachusetts Republican is the biggest target, however—and Brown didn’t help himself earlier in this week when he declared for the New England media, “I’ve seen the picture. He’s definitely dead.’’
At that point, the White House had not released any photos of Bin Laden—and Central Intelligence Agency Director Leon Panetta had not shown them to members of Congress during a classified briefing. There were, however, a number of fakes prowling around on the Web. Brown’s office had to issue a retraction.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee put out a release Friday mocking Brown, suggesting that the telegenic senator is not the sharpest knife in the drawer and calling him “Dan Quayle in a barn coat.”
For Brown, elected to the late Edward Kennedy’s seat in a shocker in January 2010, it was a rare misstep in what has been an early Senate tenure that seems to have, so far at least, won over his largely Democratic constituency. His approval ratings have remain consistently high, and he has not drawn a top-tier Democratic opponent in his bid to be elected to a full term next year.
But someone smells blood. Of greater concern to Brown may be the $1.4 million ad blitz the League of Women voters launched against him earlier this week, citing his Senate vote to limit the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
The take-no-prisoners ad shows a young, wheezing girl in an oxygen mask, cradled by her mother.
“When Scott Brown voted to eliminate clean air standards that reduce smokestack and tailpipe emissions, just imagine what it could have done to her,” the ad says. “Scott Brown should protect people, not polluters.”
Brown's office was incensed, and responded with an ad that says Brown voted for the measure to help create jobs and reduce regulations on small business. “Liberal special interests are distorting his record,” the ad says.
Interestingly, the League of Women Voters also targeted Sen. Claire McCaskill, the Missouri Democrat who is expected to face a tough reelection fight, with a similar ad.
McCaskill also voted in favor of the emissions bill. The prospect of an empowered EPA regulating industrial gases remains a remains a volatile and divisive issue in the farm belt, as well as in coal-producing states.
Here's the League of Women Voters' ad against Brown: And here is Brown's response: