Just 11 days before he claimed to be unfamiliar with the Tea Party movement, Massachusetts Republican senate candidate Scott Brown attended a fundraiser that was sponsored by one of the state's major tea party factions.
On January 2, Brown's Senate campaign hosted a breakfast at the Doubletree Hotel in Westborough, Massachusetts that was sponsored by the group: the Greater Boston Tea Party. According to an invitation obtained by the Huffington Post, attendees were encouraged to donate between $25 and $500, for which they would earn the distinction of being a Patriot, Sons of Liberty, Sam Adams, or American Revolutionary (depending on the size of the donation).
The event was subsequently called a "great success" on the Greater Boston Tea Party's website. "[H]e answered our questions and gave us reason to hope," the site read. Brown, too, posted an advisory to the reception.
On Wednesday, however, the state senator seemed to distance himself from the tea party movement altogether. In an interview with The Boston Globe, Brown claimed that he was unfamiliar with the "Tea Party movement" despite being endorsed by a national Tea Party group. Here is the exact transcript, as obtained by The Plum Line's Greg Sargent:
QUESTION: "Scott, what do you think about the Tea Party movement and what they are trying to do?"
BROWN: "I am not quite sure what you are talking about, what are they trying to do?"
QUESTION: "The anti-smaller government, sort of anti-establishment organization that is trying to take over the country."
BROWN: "Taking over the country. I think that is a little bit of an exaggeration."
QUESTION: "Well, they are all over the place and they are trying to take down moderate Republicans. . ."
BROWN: "All I know is that. . . "
QUESTION: "Are you completely unaware of that organization?"
BROWN: "I'm not quite sure what you are referring to. But let me just say that this is a big tent campaign..."
It's tough to know if Brown's statement to the Globe was merely confusion, a gaffe, or a more telling effort to downplay his association with his party's own conservative factions. Throughout the election, he has modeled himself as an independent-minded conservative. But, either because of his politics or the sheer implications of ending the Democratic Party's supermajority in the Senate, his candidacy has become a magnet for Tea Party factions. All of which may help Brown's campaign coffers. But might not be so political advantageous in what is still a very Democratic state.
NOTE: This piece was altered from its original version to add the full transcript from Brown's interview.