A Scott Brown-Mitt Romney fender bender
Politico // GLENN THRUSH 12/19/11 5:22 PM EST
Light-red Scott Brown, running in deep-blue Massachusetts, is proving a reliable source of bulletin board material for Democrats as he runs for reelection.
One progressive operative read Sen. Scott Brown's comments blasting the House GOP on Monday for scotching the payroll tax deal - and was reminded of an example of Brown chastising the man he's endorsed for president: former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Back in 2009, Brown, then an up-and-coming state senator contemplating a long-shot bid for higher office, expressed disbelief at a Romney-backed program to give welfare recipients donated cars, free registration, titles, taxes, a year's worth of insurance and even a AAA membership.
In May 2009, the Boston Herald reported that "Republican Sen. Scott Brown vowed to abolish an expanding state program handing out donated cars to welfare recipients with state-funded insurance and AAA memberships - even though the perk was established under former GOP Gov. Mitt Romney." When told that the $400,000 program, phased out by Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick for budget reasons, began under a fellow Republican, Brown shot back, "I don't care who started it. In this day and age, it's not appropriate. I mean, we're paying for Triple A? You've got to be kidding me."
Advocates for the poor argued that the program filled a necessary function: Helping employable public assistance recipients find transportation for hard-to-reach jobs. And a Romney campaign spokeswoman told the paper this fall that the program was merely a continuation of an existing one, and actually saved the state about $1 million in welfare benefits that didn't have to be paid out to people who were able to get off the dole.
Interesting that Newt Gingrich, who made welfare reform his raison d'etre in the 1990s, hasn't raised the issue in debates.