January 17th, 2010
05:50 PM ET
5 years ago

Matalin: GOP win in MA could 'change the way politics tastes'


Washington (CNN) – A prominent Republican strategist and one-time aide to former Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday that a Republican win in an upcoming special election, or even a narrow Democratic victory, could shake the foundations of President Obama’s ambitious agenda.

Massachusetts voters will go to the polls Tuesday to choose between Martha Coakley, the state’s Democratic attorney general, and Scott Brown, a Republican state senator, in a contest to fill the seat of the late Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy. (Under Massachusetts law, the state’s governor appointed Paul Kirk, a longtime Kennedy ally, to the Senate to serve as an interim Kennedy successor until a permanent replacement could be elected in Tuesday’s vote.) While Coakley was once considered the favorite in the historically Democratic state, polls and political analysts in recent days have suggested the race is tightening to the point of being a toss-up or even tilting in Brown’s favor. Brown’s momentum stems in part from his pledge, if elected, to be the one additional vote Senate Republicans need to carry off a successful filibuster of Democrats’ health care reform bill.

Asked about the closely watched race Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, Republican strategist Mary Matalin said a strong showing by Brown had the potential to be a game-changer for Democrats’ agenda.

It was “once said of Mike Tyson, he hits you so hard, he changes the way you taste. If we win a seat in [Massachusetts] on the signature issue of the Obama agenda, health care, this will change the way politics tastes,” Matalin told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.

A win by Scott Brown would be “apocalyptic” for Democrats, Matalin said. Should Coakley win, the fact that “we got this close, is nothing short of cataclysmic.”

“[Obama’s] agenda is going to change,” she declared.

Democrats’ efforts to continue to try to pass health care reform legislation despite polls suggesting the public is becoming increasingly uncomfortable with Democrats’ plans is evidence, Matalin said, of Democrats’ “sense of entitlement, sense of arrogance.”

The race in Massachusetts “is emblematic of everything people don’t like about the fundamental transformation agenda of this administration,” Matalin told King.

Asked about the prospect that Brown could win on Tuesday, Democratic strategist James Carville said “it could happen.”

“And if it does happen, the last place that I’d want to be is at the Wednesday morning staff meeting at the White House.”

Even though the political stakes are high, Carville, a longtime Clinton ally, said he thought it was sound strategy for the president to make a last minute pitch for Coakley at a Sunday afternoon campaign event. “You’ve got to send him up there,” Carville told King.

But, Carville had no illusions about the tough fight for Coakley in the final days of the race.

“I talked to people on the ground in Massachusetts this morning. I talked to people in the White House this morning. And, yes, it’s a very serious situation. I think more people think we’re going to lose than win but there’s some – there’s a slight bit of sense that maybe this thing could come together right at the end.”


Filed under: Extra • Martha Coakley • Massachusetts • Popular Posts • Scott Brown • Senate • State of the Union
soundoff (95 Responses)
  1. Stu-SWFlorida

    President Obama's' "ambitious agenda" is to make America better,
    but with the strong headwinds of the GOP it's taking that much longer longer.
    The Republicans agenda, on the other hand, is to remain on the track of For the Party... not For the People. Their only agenda is to see Obama (America) fail.
    What a disgusting lot of chodes...

    January 17, 2010 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  2. Mahi the Democrat

    Well they ARE going to be using Diebold voting machines and some of us in Florida and Ohio have not forgotten the Diebold machines fiascos in 2000 and 2004. Diebold is owned by a Republican and the Diebold machines are easy to hack those numbers.

    This is very bad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    JMHO

    January 17, 2010 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  3. Craig

    As Rep. Grayson says, Republicans just want you to not get sick or just die already – since they have no health care ideas that are practical and meaningful. He's right too!

    January 17, 2010 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  4. Libertarian

    Lest we forget who brought us to this. I'm not trying to place blame...just remind everyone that we really don't need the OLD policies back in place. Recession, War(s), record profits for Haliburton and Oil companies, deficits & debt records set.....and not to mention the whole world hated us. Thank you repubs but we didn't forget in less than ONE YEAR.

    January 17, 2010 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  5. Keith in Austin

    No matter what happens in Mass, a LOUD MESSAGE is being sent to Obozo, Harry and Nancy! Americans are fed up with liberal Democrats!

    January 17, 2010 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  6. JP

    Cataclysmic? Apocalyptic? What kind of language is this that's being spewed forth? This is nothing short of meaningless, trite RHETORIC! You know what would be apocalyptic? The end of the world, or perhaps the kind of devastation we see from Haiti right now. And this woman has the gull to suggest something would be apocalyptic, despite the possibility of reconciliation, this is just absurd.

    January 17, 2010 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  7. Steve

    Other than to comment that she is right, what else is there to say?

    January 17, 2010 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  8. Retired US Army Officer - Kansas

    I doubt if a GOP win In Mass would make the political games in Washington "taste" any better. I suspect that a GOP win would show the true colors of our elected representatives and result in a total shut down of government for purely political gamesmanship . I truley doubt if we would see a sudden bipartisan atmosphere for the good of the nation.

    January 17, 2010 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  9. jayzee

    to just vote republican in an area that is normally voting democratic to only have that republican block health care reform is absolutely ludicrus. then what, are republicans than going to actually put an effort into some kind of reform, even reform to stop the insurance companies basically dictating who and at what cost we can have a doctor. reform still needs to happen, so no, i dont see them voting republican. when it comes down to it, it will be democrats that win.

    January 17, 2010 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  10. Equality for all

    By Matalin saying " a Republican win in an upcoming special election, or even a narrow Democratic victory, could shake the foundations of President Obama’s ambitious agenda" the Republicans are attempting to present a "heads I win, tails, you lose" scenario. They are trying to claim victory, no matter what the outcome of the election.

    January 17, 2010 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  11. R.O.B.

    I'm not really a big fan of health care reform and I'm a lifelong Democrat. Death is something that will happen to all of us one day and when that happens, we will suffer no more. I'm more concerned with why the price of gas is going back up and why haven't any green jobs been created. To lean even further left, I would rather see the repeal of marijuana prohibition than healthcare reform. I rarely ever go to the doctor anyway. When I get sick I know how to take care of myself. Home remedies usually work just as well or even better than prescribed medication.

    January 17, 2010 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  12. brad from IL.

    Watch the Ballot boxes if you see Acorn in the area. Obama is there so you know his crooked sleaze bag friends are close by.

    January 17, 2010 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  13. Mark

    If the Democrats can't do healthcare then the economy is going to falter which will hurt the GOP more than the Democrats. If the stock market goes down then the rich will lose money again.

    January 17, 2010 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  14. John in Dayton

    What agenda is that, Ms. Matlin? Could it be the agenda to get banks lending money so businesses can add to their payrolls? Or the agenda that would make things fair for gay men and lesbians serving in our military? The agenda that would make health care more accessible to the millions of Americans without it? What exactly is your problem?
    President Obama wasn't my choice – I wanted Hillary Clinton – but he is a good person trying to do the right thing for Americans. The GOP has been obstructionist from the start. They have not wanted to work with this president at all.
    I submit that if Republicans re-take any branch of government, nothing will change even with them in power.

    January 17, 2010 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  15. Cystem Phailure

    "A win by Scott Brown would be “apocalyptic” for Democrats, Matalin said."

    Yes, and for the entire country.

    January 17, 2010 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  16. Michael

    The Republicans are short on everything but sleazy hopes of continuing to screw the average American. If the Republicans win anything it will guarantee the demise of the Great American Experiment, a true democracy. They almost succeeded with G.W. We have already seen our great nation slip into a near second nation status and China becoming the NEW standardbearer for the world. To continue their inhumane, self centered, self serving ways will push us past the point of no return, we are on the edge now. It will truely be the land ruled by the elite few, the same foundation that has fallen so many other nations, we are not immune from history.

    January 17, 2010 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  17. jeff fastov

    The funny thing is democratic stategist James Carville is married to Republican strategist Mary Matalin.Wonder how they live together?It still shows how every republican stayed with there agenda to try to defeat everything Obama is trying to do and than they say he is not trying to be partisan.When Bush passed the Drug bill he too bribed and bought off senators .It is also a costly bill but assured Bush winning crucial senior votes for his second term.

    January 17, 2010 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  18. Rightsaid

    I just don't see MASS electing someone that the profiteering, lying, ignorant Palin supports.

    January 17, 2010 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  19. Steve from Oregon

    Another stupid prediction by a Republican wishing for dreams to come true. Mass. has been Democrat forever and will remain so. I find it amazing that the political party that caused this mess has the cajones to claim they are the answer.

    January 17, 2010 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  20. Babs

    And that's all it's about, too. Shaking up President Obama's agenda. It's certainly not about the people and what the people hired you idot Republicans to do. No, it's about making President Obama look as bad as you can to everyone so that you can take over. Take over and do what? What are you going to do? What changes are you going to make? What the hell do Republicans stand for anymore? Does anyone know? I sure don't. The Republican Party doesn't exist as far as I'm concerned. Not any more. Years ago it was the best. Now it's the biggest joke around.

    January 17, 2010 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
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