The second debate in the Massachusetts Senate race was far more combative than the first, which perhaps isn’t so surprising considering that a week ago Scott Brown was answering for his supporters’ “Indian war whoops.” As in their previous showdown, on Monday night the Senator spent a significant amount of time attacking Elizabeth Warren over claims about her Native American heritage, and she picked at his voting record. Brown continued to paint himself as bipartisan, but did even more to disavow his own party this time. When moderator David Gregory pointed out that Brown once listed Mitt Romney as one of his strongest supporters and said that on the economy, “there’s no one I would trust more than Governor Romney,” Brown still refused to say that he’d be a “reliable ally” if Romney wins the presidency. “I don’t work for anybody. I don’t work for President Obama, or Mitt Romney, or Mitch McConnell, or Harry Reid. I work for the people of Massachusetts,” said Brown.
He had more harsh words for the potential majority leader later in the debate, saying, “I already let it be very clearly known to Mitch McConnell that I’m completely disgusted as to what’s going on down there. He has a lot of work to do to earn my vote because I don’t work for him or Harry Reid. That’s the beauty of being independent.”
When Gregory questioned Warren on bipartisanship, asking her to name a Republican she could work with in the Senate, she flubbed her answer, pointing to Senator Dick Lugar, who is leaving at the end of this term. She recovered by saying she’d work with anyone, a strategy that worked better than Brown’s attempt to list half of the members of the Supreme Court as his favorite justice. Initially he said Justice Scalia, but when that answer drew boos from the audience, he quickly threw out the names Kennedy, Roberts, and Sotomayor.
While Brown may not be willing to declare his allegiance to any Republican, he does share Romney’s appreciation for snappy debate comebacks. As Warren tried to cut Brown off, he got in the most memorable line of the night. “Excuse me,” he shot back, “I’m not a student in your classroom, please let me respond.”