News Column

Gomez, Markey Spar Over NSA and Partisanship

June 12, 2013

U.S. Rep. Edward J. Markey -- his lead in the Senate race down to single digits -- tried again to tie opponent Republican Gabriel E. Gomez to the national GOP in a Springfield debate just hours before President Obama touched down in Boston to rally for the Democratic candidate.

But Gomez pushed back, saying Markey has been "personally trying to demonize and make me be somebody that I'm not."

And the Cohasset Republican separately attempted to pre-empt the president's visit, posting an online "open letter" to Obama that touted his own bipartisanship.

The ex-Navy SEAL wrote: "I look forward to working with you to represent all the people of Massachusetts. Where we disagree, I will reach across the aisle and work to find common ground with you, and with my fellow members of Congress. As voters know, my campaign is about the future, not the past. I believe it's time for a bipartisan problem solver who will put people before politics. In that spirit of bipartisanship, while you're in Massachusetts today, I invite you to join me this afternoon at my Veterans Town Hall event in Chelsea at 2:00PM."

In the debate, Markey continued his primary line of attack on Gomez, accusing him of being in the pocket of national Republicans.

"These people have arrived committed to making sure that President Obama's agenda doesn't move at all. It begins with Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the United States Senate who was sending out letters for Mr. Gomez to bring him down," said Markey during the rivals' second faceoff, which despite the exchange of accusations was far less contentious than the first.

Gomez, who later said Obama's 2 p.m. Boston rally today proves that Markey is "running scared," stayed mum about the trip during the debate and focused on Markey's negative ads. Two recent polls show Markey just seven points ahead of Gomez.

Markey later addressed charges he's being negative, saying, "Mr. Gomez thinks that when we talk about the differences between the two of us on very important issues that somehow or other we're engaging in negative politics. We're not. We're engaging in the discussion that voters ... need to understand."

The two also sparred over the National Security Agency's review of personal emails and calls, with Markey asserting that whistleblower Edward Snowden broke the law and Gomez saying the nation should wait on all the facts before judging.

The candidates will debate again June 18 before the June 25 special election.

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Source: Copyright Boston Herald (MA) 2013