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Scott Brown Won’t Attend Boston Tea Party, But Sarah Palin Will

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Scott Brown Won’t Attend Boston Tea Party, But Sarah Palin Will

Monday, April 12, 2010

U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, whose stunning victory in January was fueled in part by Tea Party anger, has snubbed the fiery grassroots group and declined its invitation to join Sarah Palin Wednesday at a massive rally on Boston Common, the Herald has learned.

Brown’s decision to skip the first big rally in Boston by the group whose members are credited with helping him win election has some experts saying he’s tossed the Tea Party overboard, as he prepares for re-election in 2012.

“He wants to mainstream himself before the election,” said Larry Sabato, a University of Virginia political scientist.

Brown, who took heat for the alleged misbehavior of some of his supporters at campaign events, may be trying to distance himself from what could be a volatile event, said political analyst Lou DiNatale.

“You’re worried at a rally that there’s a sign, a statement, an incident that’s certifiably cuckoo occurs,” DiNatale said.

“To win re-election, Scott Brown floating to the right is a serious problem.

“And showing up at a Sarah Palin, Tea Party event is not the way to the middle.”

But Brown spokesman Felix Browne said the senator applauds the “energy and enthusiasm” Palin and the Tea Party bring to GOP politics.

The Senate is in session and Brown can’t get away, Browne said.

“He’ll be doing the job he was elected to do – serving the people of the commonwealth of Massachusetts,” Browne said.

Sabato said it’s “possible” Brown can’t get away but noted senators do travel to their districts during the weeks-long stretches that the Senate is in session.

“It’s not like they’re voting constantly,” Sabato said.

Tea Party members said they don’t feel slighted.

“It’s not about paying favors back,” said Mark Williams, chairman of the Tea Party Express, which organized the rally and invited Brown.

“I’d happily forgo (having him) if he’s truly doing the job of the people.

“He has half a century of Kennedy damage to compensate for, after all.”

Barbara Klain, head of the Greater Lowell Tea Party, said Brown also turned down an invite to speak at their April 15 rally in downtown Lowell.

“He said he was going to be in Washington,” Klain said. “He needs to be doing his job.”

It’s a view Sabato suggested was willfully naive.

“It’s naive, but they’re cutting him some slack,” Sabato said.

“But he’s their hero, more so than Sarah Palin – they got him elected.”

This won’t be the first time Brown has appeared to distance himself from Palin.

Shortly after his triumph, Brown denied receiving a congratulatory call from Palin, only to remember the exchange when pressed.

Palin is a possible 2012 presidential rival to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, whose aides were the architects of Brown’s Senate win.

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