In a stunning upset in liberal Massachusetts, Republican Scott Brown rode a wave of voter anger to win the U.S. Senate seat held by the late Edward M. Kennedy for nearly half a century, leaving President Obama's health care overhaul in doubt and marring the end of his first year in office.
The loss by the once-favored Democrat Martha Coakley in the Democratic stronghold was a stunning embarrassment for the White House after Mr. Obama rushed to Boston on Sunday to try to save the foundering candidate. Her defeat on Tuesday signaled big political problems for the president's party this fall when House, Senate and gubernatorial candidates are on the ballot nationwide.
"I have no interest in sugarcoating what happened in Massachusetts," said Sen. Robert Menendez, the head of the Senate Democrats' campaign committee. "There is a lot of anxiety in the country right now. Americans are understandably impatient."
Brown will become the 41st Republican in the 100-member Senate, which could allow the GOP to block the president's health care legislation. Democrats needed Coakley to win for a 60th vote to thwart Republican filibusters. The trouble may go deeper: Democratic lawmakers could read the results as a vote against Mr. Obama's broader agenda, weakening their support for the president. And the results could scare some Democrats from seeking office this fall.
This program aired on January 19, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.