U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, cool and confident heading into the UMass Lowell/Boston Herald debate tonight, is brushing off warnings to ease up on Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren, saying he'll speak his mind and not worry about seeming overly aggressive -- because voters need to know "who she really is."
"I'm just going to be myself. I'm passionate, and I always have been," Brown told the Herald yesterday after attending the Blessing of the Fleet on the New Bedford waterfront.
"When we're talking about taking more money out of people's pocketbooks and wallets, I'm going to be passionate about fighting for jobs in Massachusetts. I don't think that's being aggressive or disrespectful."
But Brown said, "People need to know who she really is."
Brown has hammered Warren on her claim to American Indian heritage and her history as a big-business lawyer defending corporate interests -- a strategy that some pundits say could turn off undecided voters if he takes it too far. They have counseled against the kind of theatrical power move that sunk Rick Lazio, whose 2000 U.S. Senate bid against Hillary Clinton took a dive after a debate in which he walked over to her and tried to force her to sign a campaign pledge.
Brown said his debate demeanor has been well within reason.
He said he has been focused on answering questions "in a thoughtful and respectful manner" to outline "the difference between us."
And tonight's capacity crowd can expect as much, Brown said, at the Herald-sponsored showdown at UMass Lowell's Tsongas Center, moderated by "Meet the Press" anchor David Gregory.
"She has certain beliefs and I have certain beliefs, and we're going to do our best to present them in a thoughtful way," he said. "So I'm excited about (the debate)."
U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano, pounding the Democratic drums as a campaign-trail surrogate for Warren yesterday, wrote off Brown as "awful cute" and called his claim to bipartisanship "a bunch of bull."
Warren had no public events yesterday. And Brown said he's not losing any sleep over Capuano's jibes.
"I'll let the people be the judge. They know better," Brown said. "It's a partisan Democrat supporting one of their own, so I'm not too worried about what he says."
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