Surging GOP Senate candidate Scott Brown yesterday warned President Obama to “stay away” from the Bay State during his roiling race against Democratic rival Martha Coakley and not to interfere with their intensifying battle in the campaign’s final days.
“He should stay away and let Martha and I discuss the issues one on one,” Brown said. “The machine is coming out of the woodwork to get her elected. They’re bringing in outsiders, and we don’t need them.”
Coakley’s campaign showed signs of panic as they scrambled to get a last-minute appearance by Obama to bolster their effort before Tuesday’s election.
Some polls are showing the Senate contest far closer than any pundits expected, and Coakley in danger of losing her clear shot at the historic seat.
Coakley said yesterday she hasn’t heard from the White House. “I welcome his support, but we’ve got a lot of support here in Massachusetts (and) I think he’s got a lot on his plate in Washington,” she said.
Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs said yesterday that the president had no plans to visit Massachusetts, even though he realizes “there’s a lot at stake in the election.”
But sources said Coakley is pushing for a Sunday event with Obama as the race remains glued to the national spotlight.
“We would love to see Obama any time,” said Boston City Council President Michael Ross, a Coakley supporter who attended her event at Dorchester’s Kit Clark Senior Center yesterday. “Any time the president of the United States comes it will remind Democrats to get involved.”
But Republican consultant Charlie Manning said a visit from a president with tanking ratings would make Coakley look desperate as upstart Brown enjoys a last-minute boost from climbing poll numbers and media momentum.
“It’s sort of like trying to bail out a boat that’s already sinking. I don’t think they can fool the voters of Massachusetts this time,” Manning said.
National interest in the race centers on an impending vote on health-care reform - championed by the late U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.
A Brown win would be crushing for Obama, who would lose a 60-seat Democratic majority in the Senate, said Larry J. Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics.
In addition to a rally headed by former President Bill Clinton planned for tomorrow, Coakley’s team circulated a heartfelt plea from Kennedy’s widow, Vicki, last night asking supporters for help. They’re also rumored to be pushing for a potential event with Caroline Kennedy, daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy.
“It’s a real fight at this point in time,” said U.S. Rep. William Delahunt (D-Quincy). “We’re doing everything we can to help.”
Brown urged Coakley’s campaign to keep the race about local issues instead of national figures.
“It’s me against the machine,” he said. “And it always has been.”