Senator Scott Brown is distancing himself from comments by fellow Massachusetts Republican Mitt Romney, who told donors at a private fundraiser that nearly half of Americans see themselves as victims, dependent on government handouts.
“That’s not the way I view the world,” Brown said in a statement. “As someone who grew up in tough circumstances, I know that being on public assistance is not a spot that anyone wants to be in.”
Brown shares a lead political strategist with Romney and has endorsed Romney for president. But in a tight race with Democrat Elizabeth Warren, Brown has been quick to disavow controversial statements from Romney and other members of his party. He has also avoided appearing with Romney and even used President Obama in his television advertisements.
On the national level, Brown’s statement demonstrates how Romney’s comments could create problems for Republicans in liberal and moderate districts.
Warren was quick to pounce on the Romney comments, saying in an interview that “Mitt Romney wrote off half the people in Massachusetts as deadbeats.”
Warren has been working to tie Brown to the national GOP and paint the race as a referendum on the two political parties’ visions.
“There’s a clear choice in the 2012 election and Mitt Romney just made it clearer,” Warren said in an interview. “It’s between those who say ‘I’ve got mine and the rest of you are on your own,’ and those who say ‘We’re all in this together.’”
Warren added that “Scott Brown is strongly supporting Mitt Romney for president of the United States. I’m strongly supporting Barack Obama.”
Brown, in his comments, expressed sympathy for those on public assistance.
“Too many people today who want to work are being forced into public assistance for lack of jobs,” Brown continued. “The number of people receiving food stamps has grown to 47 million. That’s why I’m fighting for job-creating policies that will help turn our economy around.”
In the statement, Brown also took a shot at Warren, saying her tax proposals would kill jobs and force more workers onto public assistance.Noah Bierman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @noahbierman.