Karl Rove screens Scott Brown ad in Tampa, later sees senator

Hours before Karl Rove saw Senator Scott Brown at the Republican National Convention in Tampa on Thursday, he screened an advertisement that related to the Massachusetts Senate race, according to BusinessWeek.

But a spokesman for Rove’s super PAC, American Crossroads, said the ad was one of two that ran in Massachusetts in November and December. That was before Brown and his opponent, Democrat Elizabeth Warren, signed a pledge in January that was intended to keep outside groups from running commercials designed to influence their race.

American Crossroads has so far abided by the pledge, but has made no long-term promises. Warren’s campaign manager, Mindy Myers, sent a letter to Rove today asking him to stay out of the race.


“We understand your organization is opposed to Elizabeth’s candidacy and seeks to help Republican candidates who will continue to push for tax breaks for big corporations and billionaires and the weakening of Wall Street reform,’’ Myers wrote. “However, we believe that differences between the candidates on these issues are best debated between the candidates and not via heavy ad spending from outside groups.’’

Warren has used Rove’s name in her fund-raising and public comments in an effort to dent Brown’s independent image and tie him to partisan Republicans.

Rove is former President George W. Bush’s chief political strategist and a conservative thought leader today.

BusinessWeek first reported that the ads were screened at “an exclusive breakfast briefing to about 70 of the Republican Party’s highest-earning and most powerful donors.’’

During Rove’s presentation Thursday morning, he screened “a collection of television ads aimed at such Senate battleground states as Massachusetts,’’ according to the article.

Later Thursday, Rove was seen by a Globe reporter speaking with Brown at a restaurant table.

Brown’s campaign said it was a chance encounter as the two men were seated in the same are of one of the restaurants within the hotel where Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was staying.


A Crossroads spokesman, Nate Hodson, referred specific questions about the encounter to Rove’s chief of staff, Sheena A. Tahilramani.

“I do not comment on Karl’s private meetings, nor am I aware of what you are referring to,’’ Tahilramani wrote in an e-mail.

The Globe reporter saw Rove and Brown’s personal effects at two nearby tables.

The People’s Pledge does not legally bind outside groups from entering the Massachusetts Senate race.

It discourages them by punishing the candidates, who have mutually agreed to pay half the value of any outside ad placed on their behalf to charity.

The durability of the pledge has surprised political insiders, but there is constant speculation that it will be breached amid the finale of the campaign.

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