Sen. Scott Brown, known for his barn jacket and pickup truck, is going after working-class independent voters by saying he understands the challenges they face. Hes positioning himself as an outsider working against Washington for the people of his state.
Warren wants to be seen as a normal, everyday person — a gutsy fighter for the middle class, who grew up on its "ragged edge." Her story: She's been fighting for the little guy against the big banks and their allies her whole career. And the big Wall Street fat cats and their compatriots will do anything to keep her from getting to the Senate.
Of course, the campaigns and their surrogates will blast their own narratives about their opponent.
Warren is "not credible when she says 'I'm one of you,'" said Brad Card, a Republican lobbyist in Washington, D.C., who is a Bay State native and familiar with the Brown campaign.
"The ironworker from South Boston is going to look at Scott Brown — see his jacket, his truck, hear that he sounds like them, that he grew up playing basketball, goes to Sox games and Patriots games. And then you have this woman who is from Oklahoma, is a professor at Harvard and lives in a multimillion-dollar home in Cambridge," he explained, echoing Brown's line that Warren is an "elitist."
Democrats who understand the voters both candidates are courting vociferously defend Warren's middle-class cred.
"People want to try and take a shot at her because she happens to be smart enough and qualified enough to be a professor at Harvard," Boston City Councilor Mike Ross (D) said. "But she knows of what she speaks: That middle-class world is the world she grew up in."
Democrats in the state said that while those key working-class voters are in play, they voted for a promise in the 2010 special election Brown won but haven't seen results that will sway them to vote Republican again this year.
"I've seen plenty of elections in Massachusetts where union guys vote Republican," longtime Bay State Democratic strategist Mary Anne Marsh said. But she said Brown's appeal has probably run its course with a lot of those conservative-leaning blue-collar workers. "The barn jacket in South Boston got him the first round, but that's not putting food on the table for them now — and they've been out of work a long time and he's done nothing for them down in Washington."
Watch for Democrats to tie Brown to D.C. Republicans. On at least one issue, Warren has described Brown as being "with Washington and Republican extremists and against the people of Massachusetts."
That's an accusation Brown partisans see as laughable given his record of voting with both Republicans and Democrats.
Democrats scoff at the idea he's an underdog who is fighting against the establishment. They see Brown, an incumbent Senator with $13 million in the bank and two decades in elected office, as part of the establishment.
While Warren has her work as a consumer advocate to point to as a bolster to her pitch to voters, Brown has the double-edged sword of a Senate voting record. He'll use his 2010 Congressional Quarterly ranking — he voted with his party only 54 percent of the time in votes where a majority of Democrats opposed a majority of Republicans — to bolster his claim of independence.
Democrats will hammer him on his votes such as one for the controversial contraceptive care amendment authored by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.).
Rep. Bill Cassidy has his blood drawn by Alesha Barbour during a free hepatitis screening in the Rayburn House Office Building hosted by the Congressional Viral Hepatitis Caucus to recognize "National Viral Hepatitis Testing Day."
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