As Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Scott Brown and his Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren, traversed the state over the weekend in the final countdown to Election Day, it became clear that the two campaigns had very different vibes.
Warren Pushes Women's Issues
At Sorbonne University in Paris in 1910, Theodore Roosevelt, Warren's favorite president, said: "The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena." And on Friday night, Warren became the woman in the arena — literally.
She stepped into the ring at Ramalho's West End Gym in Lowell, where boxer Micky Ward trained for his last three fights.
"Women are equal to men and we ought to get paid the same," Warren said to a cheering crowd.
Like Democrats across the country, Warren has hammered the GOP, saying the party is waging a war on women, and has used Brown's votes on several issues affecting women, including equal pay, to try and tie him to his Republican colleagues.
It's a message that resonated with people in the gym in Lowell, including Laura McLaughlin.
"Why I'm here?" McLaughlin said. "Because I'm a woman. Let me tell you: I am 75 years old, I worked from age 20 to 65. When I was 63, we got equal pay in a community college. [It] took that long to get equal pay."
Joanne Ranagan, of Chelmsford, said she was also there because she sees Warren as good on women's issues. She called the race very close, and predicted that Democrats' efforts at getting the vote out would determine the outcome.
"I think it's kind of like Obama, it's feet on the street, and that's what they're doing," Ranagan said.
The Massachusetts Democratic Party reported it called more than 370,000 people and knocked on more than 120,000 doors on Saturday alone. But Brown adviser Eric Fehrnstrom countered that Brown has the largest get-out-the-vote effort any Republican candidate has ever had in Massachusetts. And Fehrnstrom said when campaigns start talking about getting the vote out, it's because their candidate is not connecting with voters.
Brown Touts Bipartisanship
Saturday, in Plymouth, Brown was connecting with the dozens of voters who were overflowing out of a pavilion at Plimoth Plantation.
As Brown headed back for his bus, people crowded around him as if they did not want him to leave. Among them was Patrick Manning, who brought his two young daughters in his Ford F-150 pickup truck. Manning, an Army veteran, works for the Department of Public Works in Norwood.
"Scott is a ... he is bipartisan. He can work between the two aisles, and when you have so much division up on Capitol Hill and they're not working together, and Scott's one of the people that will go in there and he can listen to both sides and do what's right for both sides and make the best choices for the American people, not what's right for the party," he said.
Manning sees the race as much more partisan than Brown's race against Martha Coakley two years ago.
"Because I believe Elizabeth Warren is much more partisan," Manning said.
'We Can Taste It!'
Saturday afternoon, an ebullient Warren drew 1,500 people to a rally at Roxbury Community College. She sounded confident of a victory.
"We can taste it!" she exclaimed. "Can you taste it? Can you smell it? It's in the air. Can you feel it? All right, so it's up to us to make it happen. Are you ready to make it happen? ... We're going to do this."
One key to a Warren victory could be how many African-Americans turn out to vote Tuesday.
Unlike the Brown crowd in Plymouth, Warren's crowd in Roxbury made for the exits as soon as she was done talking. On the way out, Joseph Eubanks Jr. called Warren very progressive.
"She is for the common man and common woman," Eubanks said. "That is what attracts me to her and her candidacy."
Eubanks was optimistic that Warren would win.
"And I am glad that this is a presidential year, because I think that is in her favor," he said.
When asked if that was because people would turn out to vote for President Obama, Eubanks agreed. "The more progressive people that usually don't vote will turn out, yes," Eubanks said.
Turning out Democrats who don't usually vote is what the Massachusetts Democratic Party is trying to accomplish. It's trying to mobilize Democrats who did not vote in the last three state elections.
'Do Not Go To Bed Tuesday Night And Say, 'Darn!''
Two years ago, Brown did so well that he won heavily Democratic South Boston.
On Sunday, he was back in the neighborhood.
"Hey! How ya doin?" Brown said to one man at the entrance to Mul's Diner. "No game today," Brown said to the man.
But the visit to Mul's showed what Brown could be up against this time. The man he was talking to about the Patriots having a bye week was Billy Larkin, a union worker from Quincy.
"The economy's been slow and everything, so there's a lot of guys out of work," Larkin said. "It's the unemployment thing, and stuff like that for me."
Larkin is voting for Warren. He says he always votes Democratic. But one key to a Brown victory could be how well he hangs on the 49 percent of union workers who reported in an AFL-CIO poll that they voted for Brown in 2010.
Brown found more enthusiasm at Faneuil Hall, where 750 of his supporters turned out to hear him speak.
"Do not go to bed Tuesday night and say, 'Darn! We lost an advocate for our veterans. We lost an advocate for somebody who's fighting for our men and women who are serving, our military bases, for our small business owners and our business leaders, and for the men and women who are fighting to put their kids through college!' " Brown entreated the crowd.
Once again, Brown's supporters thronged around him and outside, a campaign worker asked the crowd to line Brown's path to the tour bus.
This program aired on November 5, 2012.