Mass. Senate race scrapes the scum off the pond
May 24th, 2013
02:09 PM ET
10 years ago

Mass. Senate race scrapes the scum off the pond

(CNN) – The U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts took a nasty turn this week when the Republican candidate equated his Democratic rival to "pond scum" for a web video that pictured him on screen with Osama bin Laden.

Saying he couldn't think of anything more offensive, Gabriel Gomez told a reporter he was worried his four kids would see the ad, which hits Gomez for his work with a group that accused President Barack Obama of "politically capitalizing on U.S. national security operations and secrets" after the bin Laden raid.

"For him to be as dirty and low - pond scum - to put me up there next to bin Laden, he's just got to be called what he is," Gomez, a former Navy SEAL, said of Democratic Rep. Ed Markey.

The video was originally posted in early May. Titled "Meet Gabriel Gomez: Just Another Republican," the spot shows a clip from MSNBC where Gomez and an image of the September 11, 2001, terrorist mastermind are displayed side-by-side. In the clip, Gomez is seen defending OPSEC Education Fund, which criticized Obama after bin Laden's death.

The controversy came days after each candidate won his party's nomination to contest for the open Senate seat left vacant when John Kerry became secretary of state. The two will compete in the special election on June 25. William "Mo" Cowan is currently serving as interim senator, appointed by Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick.

Following April's Boston Marathon bombings, the race largely dropped off newspaper front pages in the state. The candidates suspended campaigning for nearly a week following the attack.

But as Election Day approaches, the race is regaining momentum, with each candidate launching bitter attacks in a bid to woo voters-or dissuade them from the other candidate. The most recent polls in the contest have Markey ahead of Gomez, ranging from a single digit advantage to a double digit lead.

But Republicans still see an opening in the state, which has long voted for Democratic presidential candidates but has shown more willingness to elect Republican governors. In 2010, the state voted Republican Scott Brown to the Senate in a special election, though he lost his re-election bid last year.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has sent multiple staffers to the state in recent days, including senior adviser Kevin McLaughlin, in a bid to bolster Gomez in the final month before ballots are cast.

On Friday, a Markey spokesman said the pond scum remark was a "new low" for Gomez.

"His desperate attack will do nothing to distract from his opposition to an assault weapons ban and limits on high-capacity magazines," Markey spokesman Andrew Zucker said.

Democrats, in turn, point to Gomez's refusal to release his 2005 tax return, which they say will further illuminate a tax break he took for agreeing not to alter his historic home. It turns out the local historic preservation board already prohibited any changes.

Weeks after Gomez took the deduction, which was for more than $200,000, the Internal Revenue Service labeled the tactic one of a "dirty dozen" tax scams.

The tax revelation came to light earlier in May, and Democrats continue to pepper Gomez for not releasing his tax returns.

Meanwhile, Gomez's campaign and its Republican allies have latched onto Markey's absence record from Congress, alleging the longtime U.S. congressman owes voters for the days he's missed while on the campaign trail.

Using his congressional salary, Republicans calculate Markey owes taxpayers $7,150 for missing roll call votes in the House.

"Hardworking families have to play by the rules and go to work, why shouldn't Ed Markey?" asked Massachusetts GOP Executive Director Nate Little. "While Ed hasn't had a real job for nearly four decades, the least he could do is pay the people of Massachusetts back for the time he missed this month."

Markey's campaign said the candidate was "focused on sharing the clear differences between himself and Gabriel Gomez" in the final month of the campaign.

"Over the past week and a half Ed Markey has held roughly 30 campaign or official events and meetings such as meeting with mayors from across the state, hearing from ministers in Dorchester and campaigning with Massachusetts workers in the AFL-CIO," Zucker said. "With regard to Gabriel Gomez's false attack on Ed Markey's attendance, Ed Markey is proud of his 96 percent lifetime voting record in Congress."

Filed under: Massachusetts
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Fred

    All of them scrape the bottom of the pond. The bottom of the barrel. They just about exceed any depth a person wants to talk about, even whale dung.

    May 24, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "It turns out the local historic preservation board already prohibited any changes."

    Indeed. Which means that recording a deeded restriction did not actually change/lower the value of his home. And guess how big the deduction he took was? $280,000+.

    May 24, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  3. Data Driven

    LOL at the headline.

    Release your tax returns, Gomez.

    May 24, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  4. Tom

    I think that's going to be Senator Pond Scum to you Mr. Gomez.

    May 24, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  5. California Gary

    Gosh.......the GOP certainly had no problem linking Dems to being anti-military and supportive of terrorists in the 2002 and 2004 election cycles........any Dem that didn't fall in line with their approach to things was anti-American. Bachman still wants the congress investigated for being anti-American. Looks like this young GOP hopeful insinuated that there was something wrong about how we took down our greatest enemy.......and anyone that calls him on it is "pond scum"? Wow.......let the name calling and mud fest begin.

    May 24, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  6. Hypatia

    Another dirty thuglican breaks wind. Seems to be the only thing they are good at besides stealing funds to waste on mistresses.

    May 24, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  7. TheObserver

    Do you hear all this BS America? I'm a Democrat (sort of, I mean what's the point anyway) and I'm embarrassed. I would be equally embarrassed if a Demo said this about a Repub.

    What bothers me is not what the words were. What bothers me is the fact that right now we are graced with politicians on BOTH sides who don't even think twice about pulling this BS, whether its for PR, or posturing, or whatever. And who gets to argue about all the fallout? WE DO. We follow the example of these clowns and act equally as juvenile when expressing our beliefs. And so, just as Washington wants, we argue amongst ourselves.

    Al Queda has essentially won. And they did it NOT by banking on the popular reaction to 9/11, but rather they did it by banking on the government's reactions, which are far more predictable and manipulable. They attacked us on our own soil, and took out a national landmark, to make sure it was a national response, and they got it. Consider what happened to the other countries that attacked us on American soil (see atomic bombs Little Boy and Fatman). Once again they elicited a huge, uncoordinated, military response. The government saw how we reacted to FEAR, and how when there is FEAR present we lose our collective judgment. They saw how FEAR incited arguments and dissension. They saw that as long as our media could keep feeding us a steady diet of things to be scared of, that we would stay divided and the idle speculation and blame games, and witch hunts, and lynch mobs would keep us nicely occupied as our elected officials continue to profiteer and play the career politics game right in front of our faces.

    There is, was, and ALWAYS will be reasons to disagree about politics. Republican used to mean something a lot different, and so did Democrat. George W got us all in heaps of trouble that we're still digging out of. Barack did not do any cleaning house, as he advertised during his "Yes We Can" campaign. Both parties are in disarray. Our current Congress (the real ones to blame) are the most useless humans in Washington, and do nothing for our country's morale. They are the worst Congress in 50 years, or maybe more. It's no wonder Congress has so many problems to deal with, the people are just following their horrible, juvenile, pointless example.

    US vs THEM is always US vs US!!!! Anyone notice that?

    Let's make the US = We and the THEM = Washington

    and let's direct our anger where it belongs!!!!!!

    May 24, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |