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Sen. Brown Pushes To Gain Support Of Women

Sen. Scott Brown speaks during a news conference at his campaign headquarters in Boston, as Sen. Olympia Snowe, left, and his wife Gail Huff, right, look on, Monday. (AP)

Sen. Scott Brown speaks during a news conference at his campaign headquarters in Boston, as Sen. Olympia Snowe, left, and his wife Gail Huff, right, look on, Monday. (AP)

BOSTON — U.S. Sen. Scott Brown is enlisting the help of a fellow Republican in his quest for re-election. Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine was in Boston Monday to campaign for Brown.

Snowe defended Brown’s vote in favor of giving employers a religious exemption to providing certain health coverage, but some Republican women in Massachusetts have been worried about the direction the national party has been taking.

Meredith Warren is a Republican political consultant. But lately she has found it hard to defend the national Republican party because of some of the positions Republicans have taken, whether it’s Rush Limbaugh calling a college student a “prostitute,” or Rick Santorum speaking out against contraception.

“Honestly, most of my friends are Democrats, and in a lot of ways I have a trouble convincing them sometimes to consider voting Republican because of their stance on women’s issues,” Warren said.

Democrats hope to capitalize on that by focusing on Republican positions on women’s health.

Emily’s List, a national organization that funds Democratic women who support legalized abortion, has conducted polling it hopes to use against Republican Senate candidates, including Brown. They’re planning to target him for a vote he took earlier this month.

Brown co-sponsored a bill that would have allowed employers to opt out of providing contraception coverage if they have religious or moral objections. Emily’s List President Stephanie Schriock says her group’s polling found Republicans vulnerable on women’s health issues.

“When 53 percent of independents and 40 percent of Republicans say, ‘We do not want bosses to control our health care,’ this is really going to be a problem for any of the Republicans, including Sen. Scott Brown, who co-sponsored this,” Schriock said. “It’s going to be a problem in November for these folks.”

The Emily’s List survey found that, in general, voters favored Republican candidates in Senate races. But when voters were told that the GOP candidate supported the bill Brown co-sponsored, the Republican advantage disappeared. The poll only measured generic Republican and Democratic candidates and didn’t name specific candidates, so Democratic attacks might not stick against Brown.

Meredith Warren believes that in standing up for freedom of religion, Brown knew his constituents.

“I do think that it worked for Scott here in Massachusetts because I think that Massachusetts is more conservative than it lets on sometimes, or that some people like to believe,” Warren said.

Brown has worked hard to make a name for himself as a defender of women. He wants to allow women in combat roles, and last week he stood on the Senate floor to advocate renewal of a law that funds shelters for victims of domestic violence by relating his own experiences as a 6-year-old boy trying to protect his mother from an abusive husband.

“The key question is, does Scott Brown support women’s access to health services and health care? Absolutely.”
– Sen. Olympia Snow of Maine

“And it’s something that still lives with me,” Brown said. “And I try to use that experience and knowledge to help in many different ways, and when I was growing up there, quite frankly, weren’t the resources that are available today.”

The bill now has a filibuster-proof 60 co-sponsors. Brown was the 31st senator to sign on, and the fifth Republican. The next day, he toured a Massachusetts shelter with his sister, Lee-Ann Riley, and talked about how abusive partners terrorize their victims.

“Listen, bottom line is the biggest challenge, and we talk about it, Lee-Ann and I a lot, and my mom, is this lack of control,” Brown said. “When you have somebody who controls the purse strings, who is physically stronger than you, and you don’t know where to turn and they keep beating you down emotionally.”

At his campaign headquarters in South Boston Monday, Brown announced the support of 500 women. At the event, Snowe defended his vote in favor of giving employers a religious exemption to providing certain medical coverage.

“So we could have, you know, a disagreement about how you accomplish that goal, but essentially, the key question is does Scott Brown support women’s access to health services and health care?” Snowed asked. “Absolutely. That’s the bottom-line issue, and that’s what everybody should be concerned about.”

The polls have been all over the place in the race between Brown and his likely Democratic opponent, Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren. Peter Ubertaccio, who teaches a course on Massachusetts politics at Stonehill College, says it’s not clear how the contraception or religious freedom issue is going to play out for Brown.

“I do think that he’s finessed it well and I think that he’s survived that particular issue, and then to have Olympia Snowe come right on the heels of it and lend her support is really going to help buttress him against any claims that he’s engaged in this Republican so-called war on women,” Ubertaccio said.

Brown’s support among women is something that Tim Vercellotti of Western New England University is taking a look at. He conducted a poll of the Warren-Brown race earlier this month.

“What we saw was Brown was leading Warren among men, 56-35, and that’s probably what you’d expect,” Vercelotti said. “Warren was leading Brown among women only 46-42, and based on previous surveys, not necessarily of this race, but say, the governor’s race, we would see a bigger advantage for the Democratic candidate among women than a four-point spread.”

One of Brown’s most prominent supporters is former acting Gov. Jane Swift. She’s confident that Republicans have the winning women’s issue.

“Certainly, there are a lot issues that women prioritize differently, but frankly, I think this race, whether it’s at the Senate level or at the presidential level, is going to come down to jobs and the economy,” Swift said. “Women often manage the budgets of their families and know how devastating the economic slowdown of the last several years has been.”

But Brown’s not counting on a bad economy to win over over women. He’s trying to prove himself as their champion on an array of issues.

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  • Anonymous

    How can he do that when his party is riding roughshod on women’s rights all over this country?  Don’t trust a Republican, ladies; they are out to get us and they will lie to get your vote. I live in NC and watched the Virginia Governor’s campaign first hand.  All he talked about was jobs and the economy and how he would fix the situtation.  Well, he didn’t, but he did almost give Virginia women the transvaginal probe, until someone ralized that what he wanted met the Virginia definition of rape.  Then he made national headlines and because he wants to be VP, he didn’t sign thebill that the previous week, he stated he would be glad to sign. Vote Brown in and he will think he has received a mandate to control our lives and our bodies as other Republicans have been working hard at doing  the past two years.  He may appear harmless, but he is not. Look at what Republicans have been doing all over this country and don’t vote Republican in November.

  • Anonymous

    Olympia Snowe just showed that she puts the Republican party above women’s rights.  This continues a career of adding a veneer of reasonableness and progressiveness to a party run by social conservative zealots.

  • Justthink

    Interesting! Snowe backs Brown on the ground but it’s my understanding she didn’t vote the same way when the Blunt bill was put forth, and it’s my understand that Brown did. 

     I feel as though I have been time-warped back into the 70…  It’s not just about reproductive freedoms been stomped on, it’s so much more…

  • Dianekerseydonohue

    Definitely not voting Republican!  I would NEVER  trust the party on women’s issues.  They have been stomping on women’s rights all over the country.  It’s hard to believe that this is 2012.  They have a stone age mentality.  I would never vote for Scott Brown after his vote against health care for women.

  • http://twitter.com/KnottjustJ Jennie

    Senator Olympia Snow is ignoring the real key question when she proposes that “the key question is does Scott Brown support women’s access to health services and health care?” 

    The real key question, in my opinion, as an affected woman, is whether or not Scott Brown supports women’s self-determination to health services and health care – which, clearly, he does not.

    - J.Knott, Boston

  • Jmrafe

    All this “men hate women” and “republicans are out to get you” nonsense is baloney! I’m sick of this mentality that, if you don’t support churches changing thousands of years of beliefs (arguably kind of dumb beliefs but still…) that somehow translates into hating women. If you don’t believe in the church’s mission and mentality, don’t work for them. Last I checked, if your insurance didn’t cover contraception, you could
    still get it at ANY local health clinic for less money than you would
    have paid at CVS. If you don’t like the church’s views, you shouldn’t be working for them.
    Neither Brown or Snowe believe that you should be without the pill (or other forms of contraception), they just don’t want to force someone else to buy it for you….this is pretty simple stuff if you quick playing into the media, politicians and corporations policy of “divide and conqueror”. If you really want to act like a grown-up, then find something you DO like about the other side and work with them to make good things happen.

    • Anonymous

      Bury your head in the sand much?  Or are you a Republican?

      When men consistently create laws, as the right has done, to turn back  the clock on the rights that women fought for over 50 years, there most certainly is something to right wing men hating women, no matter how much you deny it.  How dare you and your right wing cronies try to impose your beliefs on 300+ million Americans.  
      No one buys someone else’s birth control for them.  We all pay for our own, out of our own coverage.  And by the way, insurance companies have provided and paid for birth control for decades.  The right has been using false religious arguments to force changes that negatively impact women financially and in every aspect of our lives and choices. And that’s what this is really about.  Viagra and vasectomies are paid for, for men.  Women’s health care needs have to paid for too.

      • Jmrafe

        Glad you’re still sticking with that “divide and conquer” idea, people like you will get us really far in the debate. You failed to mention ONE specific law that said that there was a removal of womens rights in ANY law. (which there were, Floridas invasive ultrasound law to name the first in a long line) You’re spouting the vomit that is the modern day Democratic party, not developing a civil discussion. For the record, I’m actually a dummycrat that would rather not to affiliate with ANY party after the past 16 years have put us in the position we’re in now.
        Now, since we’re mentioning facts, lets go over the places that I agree with you. Vasectomies are also “artificial birth control” to the Catholic church. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. If the church feels like they shouldn’t pay for birth control, they shouldn’t be paying for any. I also agree that this is a dumb idea from the church. As a fan of contraceptives, I’m not catholic and I don’t believe that God, or whatever you want to call your higher being, believes that “every sperm is sacred”.
        Where we differ is that you got all pissy and decided not to actually construct a real argument, just “how dare you…” “Bury your head…” Come on, grow up. Insurance companies have provided contraceptives and will continue to do so in most cases. Insurance companies from churches have NOT provided these benefits and, again, while I disagree with them about what they’re doing, they should have the right to provide whatever coverage they want, their employees aren’t serfs, they’re employees at will.
        Finally, your generalization of all people on the right or left is the argument that I was trying to make to begin with. Scott Brown isn’t out to take away your pills and condoms and snatch your ovaries. Just like not every Democrat was against the civil rights movement in the 60s and not every Democrat was for the continuation of slavery against Lincoln. History proves a lot of things when you actually take the time to understand it. One of the best is that not everyone can be stereotyped into your neat little box.

        • Need Balance

          Scott Brown allows power to go to Mitch McConnell and that is unacceptable as he does not have Mass or womens rights in mind.  He is a drill baby drill guy who thinks Wall Street should have more freedom than women.  The ssomer Scott Brown goes away, the better for Mass and the Country!  BTW…the Republicans destroyed thier party themselves, and in the end this ignorant and greed focused party serves the US poorly as there is no alternative to the Democrats.  Dont be such a fool!

        • Anonymous

          The Republicans have been using ‘divide and conquer’ for 30 years, going after gays, blacks, women, the middle class, the 98% of scientists who tell us man is creating global warming,  unions,  etc.  Divide and conquer is their/your policy, not mine. 

          For two decades, the right has worked to impose it’s small- minded views about sexuality, birth control, sex education for schools, legal abortion, women’s right to make our own choices, etc.  

          I’ve followed politics for many years and have watched the changes imposed by the right in horror.  Most Americans have absolutely no respect for what the right has done to this country.  If you want to defend their destructive, obscene actions, go right ahead.  Just don’t expect people like me to buy what you’re selling.  

          The Catholic religion hasn’t had much success convincing Catholics not to use birth control.  98% of women and Catholic families have used some form of birth control.  So instead, the Catholic church is trying to IMPOSE their views on the entire country!  If a Catholic hospital or organization employs non-Catholics, then they have a responsibility to provide birth control to those who want it.   Otherwise, don’t hire non-Catholics.   

          I get very pissy when a small group of privileged, old, entitled, arrogant, disrespectful white men try to tell 52% of American women what we can and can’t do with our own bodies and lives.
          And I don’t much care one way or the other what you think about that.   

  • Jemimah

    I’m so fascinated by the fact that Scott Brown comes out with a real heart-string-tugging story from his past every time he needs a certain vote.  I feel sorry for all of the things many of us had to endure as children and I’m glad you’ve worked your way through them, Scott, but I’m still voting for Elizabeth Warren.  She, too, has overcome many an obstacle, but her campaigning is on the real, hard issues–especially economics–that are facing the country.

    • Anonymous

      I wondered about this with Brown, too.  He does seem to use his background difficulties to summon sympathy in exchange for votes.  Usually, childhood problems help us to be compassionate about others lives and difficulties.  Not so with Scott.   

      Scott has consistently voiced his lack of concern for others through his voting record.  His votes disenfranchise and ignore the expressed opinions of most voters, in favor of the 1% and special interests.  I’ve written him many times about issues that are important to me, and I always get some slick response explaining why he voted as he did.  

      Women and the majority of Americans are on their own with Brown.

      • Jemimah

        Well said.

        • Anonymous

          The right uses the same arguments over and over, as though people haven’t caught on to what they’re doing!  

          • Jemimah

            Apparently, they like being blind.  That way, they only see what’s in their sentimental imaginations.  It’s sad, but worse, very scary.

  • need balance

    Scott Brown does NOT support women because he is a Republican.  Republicans stand against womens rights.  It is that simple.  GOP wants the church and Wall Street to run our country which is the same thing the pilgrims left England for.  The GOP is soooo ignorant with policy, and strive to keep white men in power and leave diversity to the EU.  Ask yourself…Can we take anymore Republicans ideas?  Wasn’t 8 destructuve years of Bush his controls in Congress via McConnell, Boehner, and Crist enough damage done to our country?  They destroyed our financial markets and the sent us to war based on lies?  It is bad enough we Mass elected Scott Brown (which killed many green energy jobs in Mass btw Evergreen Solar) but now we are thinking of giving him another chance to screw us over again!  Lets throw Scott the buddy of Mitch McConnel out!

  • Shin

    I suppose all democrats want Government to to knock down religious freedom and follow their dictation of what Women’s rights are.  Women does not need contraceptives to allow them to have promiscous relations.  Women need faithful man and trustable personality to be happy and fulfilled.

  • Kathy Picard

    Senator Brown
    Thank you for all you do! Domestic Violence, sexual abuse need to be talked about! Education and awareness on these topics is much needed.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2K6LL4WPUTAY6TKG2VG3SYFA5M Erlinda

    My problem lies on the bad economy and not free contraception. So, I’m voting for Senator Brown.

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