January 24th, 2010
05:30 PM ET
4 years ago

Losing Kennedy's seat a gift, Dem says


Washington (CNN) – Democrats’ stunning loss of the Senate seat held for more than 4 decades by a liberal icon is an early warning sign that the party should heed, a prominent Democratic strategist said Sunday.

National Democrats are reeling after Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, a Democrat, lost to Scott Brown, a Republican state senator who was virtually unknown on the national stage until his upstart campaign began to gain momentum in recent weeks. Brown’s bid to finish out the remainder of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s final term gained traction in part because he campaigned on a pledge to be the 41st vote Senate Republicans need to block Democrats’ health care reform bill.

“John, we lost a very important seat, a very important vote,” Democratic strategist Donna Brazile told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

“It’s a disappointment,” Brazile also told King. “It hurts like hell. I can’t tell you how much it hurts. But, it’s also a gift. If we learn the lessons to get back to the basics, to deliver for the American people the change we promised them in 2008.”

“Well, maybe we can find more under the tree,” Bill Bennett, the host of conservative talk show “Morning in America,” said in response to Brazile. “If that’s the gift, then we want to keep on giving,” the conservative commentator added.

Pointing to polling of Massachusetts voters conducted just after Tuesday’s special election, Bennett said “dissatisfaction with the direction of the country, antipathy toward federal government activism, and opposition to the Democrats’ health care proposals drove the upset election” of Brown.

Related: Voter anger helped GOP pull Senate upset, poll says

“Brown stressed a lot his unhappiness with the way the [Obama] administration was conducting the war on terror,” Bennett also pointed out Sunday.

“The people spoke. The people of blue-on-blue Massachusetts spoke and it could not have been clearer.” Bennet declared.

Brazile disagreed with Bennett’s assertion that the Massachusetts upset was a repudiation of fundamental aspects of the agenda President Obama and congressional Democrats have pursued in the last year.

“This is not a defeat that should cause Democrats to become demoralized or to begin to fail in their pledge to change the country. This is an opportunity,” Brazile said Sunday.


Filed under: Bill Bennett • Extra • Massachusetts • Popular Posts • Senate • State of the Union
soundoff (168 Responses)
  1. deneille

    Thank God for the people in Massachusetts who had enough common sense to vote on behalf of a nation. God Bless you all.

    January 24, 2010 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  2. Bonnie

    In all fairness, if President Bush, the 43rd, had 8 eight years to prove his cases, I would give President Obama, at least, 4 years to prove his.

    January 24, 2010 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  3. Paul

    I will predict that there will be people that will be upset with Scott Brown after he has been in Washington for a period of time. It is too bad that the jpeople of Mass disrespected the legacy of Ted K. They could have voted for M.C. and still sent their message. They will NEVER forget and will regret what they did to Kennedy. You have started a landslide that may not be turned around. Then, get ready for less taxes for the rich and more spending by Rep. when they get in office, Don't think that just throwing out the ones in control will solve the problems. If the Rep. are just voting NO on everything do you really think they will solve problems. We need solutions from both parties.

    January 24, 2010 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  4. Sweller

    The media keeps saying that Brown was an unknown on the national scale. Was Coakely any better know by the national public? They kept saying how little know he was, I think that was only good for him.

    January 24, 2010 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  5. Mlhall

    Vote GOP, Just don't you forget the reason we are in this mess now. President Obama did not put you here. You can keep telling your self that lie but it will not wash. When you get back to 4.00 gas, and every thing keep going up but your pay check, and you don't have health care, and no one give a rats ass tell me than how proud you are that you voted for a GOP.

    January 24, 2010 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  6. skeptic1

    ...i do not see this as a turning point, the election results were really within the margin of error, my opinion. so i do not believe the republicans can maintain the claim of this being a country-wide rally against obama and the democrats. (and for the VA gov race, i live in VA and somehow the democrats put up the weakest candidate – he was 3rd of 3 in the dem primary in my opinion.) reality, it has only been one year after eight years of proven failure, thanks dick and dub. it will take a while to turn things around, and i actually see evidence of things improving to date. this administration has focused on pulling us from the brink of total economic disaster, greatly improved our world image, and whether you like it or not, started putting country first = health care debate. bush started two wars and wrecked us. sorry if you're unable to comprehend that.

    January 24, 2010 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  7. Joe

    This was a wake up call for dems all alright. A wake up call to stop their own divisions derail any meaningful reform

    You don't exempt a certain fly over state from paying in to healthcare to secure 1 vote. You don't allow Losererman to single handedly kill the public option.

    Reid needs to man up and get the party in line. His 1st order of business should be to kick lieberman out of the caucus and strip him of his committee chair that he is so proud of. Dems don't need your vote anymore Joe. Enjoy your new parking spot. It's waaaayyyy at the back of the lot.

    January 24, 2010 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  8. unemployed by Obama

    Kennedy's old seat is the first of many losses to come, We The People Are Tired Of Obama lies and hitler agenda. So Out With The DEM's.

    January 24, 2010 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  9. Bestill

    I guess by now it's "vitally" important to have parity in both the House and the Senate. Otherwise, fools w/power run amuck and become drunk w/their own power. They forget the American People who they were elected to serve and become corrupt. Bribing and making backroom deals is not what this country was founded upon. It's not what our troops are over seas fighting and giving their lives to maintain. I'm glad it hurts like hell and may they not forget it for a very long time. And may the Republicans learn a thing or two in the process as well!

    January 24, 2010 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  10. Rise Up Indies

    So it takes losing a Senate seat for the Dems to realize they need to work on what they promised in '08? That's rich.

    January 24, 2010 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  11. JS007

    Democrats will lose even worse if they continue to be too scared to do what they were elected to do. Health care was compromised to death and left up to insurance companies, climate change is not being addressed, Guantanamo is still open, Wall Street bonuses are at all time highs, and President Obama has been way too nice with the crooks in Congress who keep sabotaging progress.

    Having said all this, the stupid American public, instead of punishing the GOP for obstructing everything, rewards them with Teddy's seat. Good work fools, get ready for even more gridlock. Let's also not forget, Coakley was a TERRIBLE candidate. The Dems were asleep at the switch. Time to call back Howard Dean!

    January 24, 2010 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  12. Independent

    While some of you are sooooo worried about the country going too socialist, your missing how the country is going straight down the fascist road. How can you actually think that Obama is a socialist and Glenn Beck is not a fascist. It's fine by me, I work for the government so me and my family will be taken care of. It's you common folk that allow your emotions to get in the way of common sense. Obama is no Mao, but think of how many people profit from you thinking he is. The Tea Party movement could be so much more, but instead it's been bought and paid for by an overzealous GOP to garner votes. You people are lost. Only a true hero leader or a true villain leader can bring you back. Unfortunately, the latter is what America seems to want. I guess that's okay, Germany learned from Hitler and Italy learned from Mussolini.

    January 24, 2010 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  13. Ben in Lansing, MI

    Ha haha. Bennet's comeback was classic.

    It's important that this be said although I don't think CNN will allow it to be posted. It's something you don't hear many people saying. See, Obama and his supporters keep talking about how he inherited a huge mess. OK, that's fine. But what is the mess? The financial meltdown of '08? If so, what has he done about it? It seems like he and the Democrats are more focused hard on changing the healthcare system. And giving speeches abroad. It's not rocket science, really it's not. We make it so hard because people dig into their position on abortion and gays and all this hoopla.

    January 24, 2010 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  14. Gerry NH

    We independents put you in last year and if you keep doing what you are doing we will make the democrats sorry for not listening to us.

    January 24, 2010 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  15. Mike in MN

    The spin from the left is unreal. Some are actually saying that the voters in Mass voted for Brown to work with the Democrats to advance Obama's agenda. Brown openly campaigned as the 41st vote to stop the current version of Obama care. The voters want it killed and for Obama and congress to start over. If they really wanted to vote for someone to advance the current Obama agenda they would have voted for Coakley. What the Dems hope to achieve with such bizarre spin is beyond me. It does make it clear they don't get it and will contiune to try and advance their liberal progressive agenda. I will be supprised if they can get the votes they need from Blue Dogs to pass health care as it is and cap and trade is totally dead. And if the up comming budget bill increase spending and the deficit, Blue Dogs will not support it either.

    January 24, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  16. Kate

    Obama can't straighten out the Bush administration's mess in one year. He has a lot to fix. Give him a chance. It is a sad thing when Scott Brown won on being against everything that Obama is trying to do to fix the mess that GW left us. Now that we have a know-it-all and pin up poster boy from Mass. as a senator maybe he can fix it in one week.....
    If the Republicans would work with the Pres. we could have a unified country. This will eventually take our country down the tube, by being a party of NO. I am a former republican and will never vote for a republican again.....Bush is the blame for all the deificit, not Obama. We have to spend our way out of this. Money is being replaced that Bush got rid of!! Two wars to pay for....Bush's wars......

    January 24, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  17. renobill

    Yes, it hurt, and the blame falls squarely on Obama. He promised change, and so far has delivered very little. Were we expecting too much? Maybe, he's no Lyndon Johnson that's for sure.

    January 24, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  18. Mike

    Is nobana in such denial that he does not recognize that electing Senator Elect Brown, it was a definite vote against nobamas health care plan plus his tax and spend liberal agenda. He and his "team" of misfits keep rejecting the obvious in hopes he can convince the American people that they did not vote for what they voted for.

    January 24, 2010 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  19. Mike, formerly from Syracuse

    I'm actually glad the Democrats don't seem to get the message they've just been sent. That just means all the more Democrats will be voted out in Nov. Bye, bye Democratic majority. You think Obozo got nothing done his first year, just wait until he has a Republican Congress. He can skulk back to Chicago with his tail between his legs. Party of NO? You bet! No to out of control spending. No to government run health care. No to a foreign policy based on apologies. No to spending my tax dollars to let terrorists have NY lawyers. No to special deals to buy Senate votes. No to amnesty for illegals.

    January 24, 2010 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  20. Proud to be the Party of NO Socialism!

    "Barry needs time to "fix" the mess"

    Please. If a plumber came to your house to fix broken pipes, you'd throw him out immediately if he was there for a long time and obviously didn't knwo what he was doing. You get someone else.

    Sorry, Barry. You don't know what you're doing. You don't understand the value of private enterprise, of American strength abroad, or of mature leadership. Take your liberal agenda, your "blame Bush" mentality, and your non-stop campaigning....and GO. Please. We can do better.

    January 24, 2010 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  21. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    Every politician better be listening...WE THE PEOPLE have spoken! Loud and clear! MA now, tomorrow the other 49!

    Let this be a learning example, for those of the left or right, pay attention...Look towards the CENTER, moderate, financially responsible...NO more tax and spend!!!

    January 24, 2010 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  22. worriedmom

    It is very obvious the Democrats are not getting it, the WH is just trying to find another way to spin things. Watch out, he is refilling the Kool Aid!

    January 24, 2010 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  23. ed cruz

    Time for the campaigner-in-chief to move from talking the talk to walking the walk

    January 24, 2010 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  24. ed cruz

    When all you're offered is garbage, would you eat it anyway? Thank God we have a party with the guts to say NO to garbage. Give us Tort Reform, STOP payoffs to greedy ambulance chasing democratic paying lawyers.

    January 24, 2010 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  25. Robert

    Who is right? Who is wrong? Reading most of these posts, per usual, one sees a nation filled with people who think one side is right and one wrong. The bitterness is palpable. In reality, both sides have good points and bad. A few people here get that. If that's the take-away for Dems after Mass then, maybe it is a gift to us moderates...and everyone else. Too bad most people love their clubs (D and R) over reason. Better Duck! Here comes the pendulum again.

    January 24, 2010 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
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