Organizers Cancel 4th Mass. U.S. Senate Debate

WESTPORT, Mass. — The fourth and final debate in the U.S. Senate race appears to have become a casualty of Hurricane Sandy.

The debate was supposed to happen Tuesday, but Sen. Scott Brown and his Democratic opponent, Elizabeth Warren, pulled out in deference to the storm. And Tuesday night, the consortium running the debate — which includes WBUR — announced that the debate will not take place.

The statement from the consortium says the campaigns could not agree on a new date. The Warren campaign sent a statement saying it had been working with the consortium to reschedule the debate for Thursday. The Brown campaign sent out its own statement saying that because of a long-planned bus tour, it could not accommodate a rescheduling.

The bus tour notwithstanding, at Horseneck Beach in Westport Tuesday, Brown said he would have loved to have debated.

“But, the act of God, we obviously had a major event here in the eastern United States, and we both agreed appropriately to cancel it,” Brown said. “And there’s only few days left, and we have a very, very busy schedule, as I’m sure my opponent does, so I’ll refer that to the campaign.”

Brown said he already had three debates so “people know where we stand on the issues. I’m going to continue to do my job.”

Two hours later, Warren visited the same spot at Horseneck Beach. She seemed more interested in another debate, but professed to be as clueless as Brown on the actual scheduling.

“This is really about giving the people of Massachusetts a chance to see the two people who are running for the Senate office,” Warren said. “This is a powerfully important race, and a race that may determine the control of the Senate.”

When asked where things stand about the possibility of rescheduling, Warren said, “You know probably more than I know at this point.”

Sandy may have handed Brown a political opportunity just by letting him do his job as senator, press in tow.

Tuesday, at Horseneck Beach, Brown went into a house that had been flooded by the storm.

“Went up to the third step in there,” he said as he came out of the house.

Brown offered to help Jason Locke, whose parents own the house.

Jason Locke sweeps mud from his parents' home in Westport. (Fred Thys/WBUR)

Jason Locke sweeps mud from his parents’ home in Westport. (Fred Thys/WBUR)

“Give us a call, OK? Insurance stuff, that sort of thing,” he said. “Good luck. You’re a good son, a good son. You’re sure you don’t need a hand getting the couch out or anything? ‘Cause we’re here! Don’t be a hero, man.”

Two hours later, Warren also stopped by. Locke wasn’t around anymore. He had taken the couch out of the house, and it, along with all the other furniture, was drying out on the debris that had washed over the road that separated the house from the sea.

Warren ran into another man whose house had been flooded, John Rogers. But Warren is not the incumbent senator. She doesn’t have the same resources so she can’t offer help. And so, she’s consigned to making small talk.

“So did you get up on the widow’s walk and watch yesterday afternoon?” Warren asked Rogers.

“No, no, because the damage hit early,” he replied. “The damage had hit about 3 o’clock.”

“So, it was about 3 o’clock?” Warren asked.

“Yeah, the wind really picked up big here between 2 and 3,” Rogers replied.

A Suffolk University poll conducted at the end of last week and last weekend finds Warren with a seven-point lead over Brown. Typically, it’s the candidate who is ahead who is most reluctant to debate. But in this case, Warren, following in Brown’s footsteps along the trail of wreckage left by Sandy, seemed be the one most willing to face her opponent one more time.

This post was updated with the Morning Edition feature story.

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  • comment

    Brown is hiding behind his bus! The real issue of character.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/TMLZFFXSOFEGIL466RSO2S5LLI Kelly A

    I agree

  • http://www.facebook.com/richard.howard.3133 Richard Howard

    WBUR on air left the impression that both candidates agreed to cancel the debate, when in fact Scott Brown announced that he would not be participating days ago, supposedly to support storm victims.  ELizabeth Warren later agreed to cancel, but to defer to a later date.  The on air story then runs audio of Scot Brown offering to help a homeowner, then a short clip of Warren in the same nigborhood, pointing out that because she was not a Senator she could offer only “small talk.”   Brown is baldly dodging final scrutiny of his record and his misleading ads in a open deabte.  WBUR coverage allowed Brown to dodge without consequences. That is poor journalism.

  • Edithswan

    I completely agree! In the wake  of Sandy,  there are many issues that have not been previously debated, such as the role of the federal government in disaster relief. Brown needs to answer for his false claims of military service in Aphghanistan and his support of women’s rights. As well, all the mailings we have received in support of Scott Brown are filled with untrue statements about Elizabeth’s position. She deserves a chance to set the record straight.

    • comment

       I would love to see the Globe and WBUR get behind this one. Why not give the hour of television time to any candidate or candidates who show up on Thursday night?

      Where is Republican Senator Scott Brown going to be on Thursday evening?  Maybe someone could offer him a ride, in a gas efficient vehicle or even a helicopter, to the studio.

  • http://www.facebook.com/richard.howard.3133 Richard Howard

    ” professed to be cluess”  ?!  WBUR has compounded its misleading reporting of this story by posting the transcript of the on- air audio with the ” clueless”  comment about Elizabeth Warren and not correcting the original story.   Take a look at the Globe article on this issue and please try to get this right.  I and many other listeners have always counted on WBUR to provide the smartest, most insightful reporting on important news events.  The WBUR reporting on the Senate campaign and this story in particular has severely undermined that confidence.  Scott Brown plans to swoop in with nasty ads funded by his is rigtht wing allies at the end of campaign and snatch the election just like he did last time.  The face to facte debate would have undermined that plan.  Don’t let him get away with it.  

    • http://www.wbur.org/people/fthys Fred Thys

      Richard Howard,

      one of the members of the consortium says the Warren team did not agree to reschedule the debate to Thursday until the Brown team had ruled out Thursday. 

  • Joachim kriegel

    Brown did not well in any of the debates so he surely has no interest to reschedule. He has portrayed himself as this independent guy and never mentioned the GOP when in fact he is fully embedded and votes GOP every time except when it could hurt him badly in his re-election. This guy is nasty, they way he portrays Elisabeth Warren shows that he is not a guy who seeks consent but a Republican who repeats lies and misstates facts. Why would we be interested to see his wife or children or people telling us that he is a good guy when he has tried to conceal the facts, has not answered the questions and in fact has voted pretty much against what we stand for in Massachusetts? Let him explain why the GOP wants to get rid of FEMA, of Medicare, of Healthcare so that on Voting day it will be obvious who is really the People’s Senator. 

  • Jkriegel

    Keep the schedule for Thursday and the one who shows up can demonstrate his/her program to the Voters. If Brown wants to ride a bus instead, let him.

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