BOSTON — U.S. Sen. Scott Brown played a starring role in Sunday’s St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast, even though he’s not from South Boston. The race between Brown and his likely Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren dominated much of the humor at the annual St. Patrick’s Day event.
Brown sat center stage for the entire two-and-a-half-hour televised program. He was second to speak in a long line up of political heavy hitters. Brown joked that he was the only Republican at the event, but that didn’t stop him from skewering the GOP presidential candidates.
“Gayle and I almost did not make it here today. As you know the truck has 230,000 miles on it. I almost didn’t make it here. Yep, but Gov. [Mitt] Romney was nice enough to give me one of his Cadillacs, so we’re all set,” Brown joked, referring to Romney’s gaffe on the campaign trail when he told an audience that his wife owns “a couple of Cadillacs.”
Brown took aim at other GOP candidates, as well.
“I see that both Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum now have Secret Service with them on the campaign trail. And in Santorum’s case, I think it’s the first time he’s actually ever used protection,” Brown said.
This seems to be part Brown’s campaign strategy — to appear as an independent and moderate — particularly in light of his tight race against Harvard professor and consumer advocate Warren.
“I see Professor Warren is here. I hope you didn’t get lost leaving Cambridge again today,” Brown said as Warren sat behind him on the stage. “She’s a very accomplished person, a very accomplished academic, and she’s a newcomer to politics, so I felt it was appropriate the other day when we were up in Lowell, once she finally got there, I took her aside and I said, ‘You know Professor Warren, your problem is that people view you as an elitist.’ She looked right at me and said, ‘That’s not true. I’ll bet you a bottle of Dom Perignon that that’s not true.’ ”
Warren, because she is only a candidate, spoke for a few minutes at the end. But she managed to get some laughs.
“You might think of me, or remember having heard, I am the elitist professor from Hollywood,” she said. “When people ask me, ‘Why do you want to go to a place like the United States Senate that is filled with enormous egos and who get nothing done?’ I always just say, ‘Hey, I work at Harvard, I’ll feel right at home.’ ”
Then she knocked Brown’s good looks and his iconic barn jacket he’s often seen wearing.
“I actually heard that Scott Brown’s barn jacket cost $600. Wow, here’s a guy who could use a consumer advocate,” Warren said.
And this last joke that got the most reaction.
“I learned that things change fast in politics,” she said. “For instance, one day Scott Brown is a centerfold for Cosmo, and the next day he’s a poster boy for Goldman Sachs,” Warren said.
South Boston is important for both candidates. Brown won the neighborhood in his 2010 special election against Martha Coakley. It was the only section of Boston that went Republican. And Warren kicked off her campaign in that neighborhood last fall.