In Massachusetts' closely-watched U.S. Senate race, there's quite a bit of interest in seeing incumbent Sen. Scott Brown (R) face off against his Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren, in a series of debates. There's just one problem: Brown really doesn't want to.
In recent months, both Brown and his staff have "refused to meet" with Warren or her team "to discuss invitations, dates, and terms for debates." When the Republican signaled a willingness to participate in some radio-only debates, Warren's campaign manager emailed Brown's campaign manager, "asking if they could sit down and work out a mutual schedule." Brown's aide rejected this outreach, too.
Yesterday, the Republican senator said he'd attend an upcoming debate, but only if some conditions are met.
Senator Scott Brown said he will accept a debate at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute but only on the condition that Vicki Kennedy stay neutral in the election and that MSNBC not be included as a broadcast partner.
The Brown campaign said in a press release that it would agree to allow former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw to moderate.... Following that statement, the Brown campaign said it would negotiate logistical details after its conditions are met.
First, MSNBC has explained it hasn't even been approached to broadcast the debate, so Brown is likely to get his way.
Second, Brown's demand to silence Ted Kennedy's widow -- not just before the debate, but until after the election -- is quite distasteful. I can appreciate why the partisan Republican candidate might be reluctant to participate in a partisan Democratic event, but it would be Tom Brokaw, not Vicki Kennedy, moderating the debate, and there's no reason to think either candidate would be treated unfairly.
What possible reason could Brown have for insisting that Kennedy's widow remain silent? Sure, the senator feels like he has some leverage -- everyone wants a series of debates, so he might as well create a wish list of demands -- but wouldn't it be better for him to show a little more class and leave Vicki Kennedy alone?