There is no question that Scott Brown won the debate last night.
It wasn’t a knock out. As Howie Carr correctly notes, a man can’t get away with hitting a woman too hard in a debate:
When he was pummeling her on the asbestos litigation, and her $225,000 payday, and on the $700,000 she and her husband make from Harvard, she seemed on the verge of losing it. But Scott didn’t go for the knockout — that never works in a debate for a guy. Just ask Rick Lazio.
I noticed some Twitter chatter along those lines, about how aggressive Brown was, but I didn’t save the tweets. But they were there.
So how do we know Brown won?
Michael Graham noted the lack of claim from the Warren media cheerleading section that Brown lost:
Proof Brown won: MSM isn’t saying overtly he lost: MT @globeglen:MASS. SENATE: Brown,Warren avoid gaffes,achieve objectives in first debate.
— Michael Graham (@MGraham969) September 21, 2012
If Brown had done poorly, the Boston media would have hammered him on it. Sometimes media silence speaks volumes.
Even Michael Tomasky had to admit Brown won, although he says “narrowly.”
If Michael Tomasky gives Scott Brown a “narrow” win, you know Brown hit it out of the park.
Update: Rob Eno of Red Mass Group has a synopsis of media coverage confirming that it is hard to spin the debate as going well for Warren:
The Boston Herald’s Peter Gelzinis: “Personally, I think the one subject Warren left on the table unanswered was Brown’s charges about the role she played as a lawyer for Travelers Insurance.” (Peter Gelzinis, Op-Ed, “Liz Warren’s Jabs Get Under Scott Brown’s Skin, The Boston Herald, 9/21/12)
WGBH’s Adam Reilly: Warren’s Response On Asbestos Exchange Was “Strangely Weak.” “Toward the debate’s end, he ripped Warren for her role helping Travelers Insurance limit payouts to asbestos victims. It’s a complicated issue, and Brown didn’t explain it as well as he might have. But Warren’s response – which included asserting that she’s not a ‘career politician’ – was strangely weak. Of all Brown’s attacks, this one was most effective.” (Adam Reilly, “Analysis: Scoring The First Brown-Warren Debate,” WGBH, 9/20/12)
The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky: “First, I think the most memorable moment of the evening came toward the end when Brown attacked Warren for supposedly representing Travelers Insurance Co. against asbesos victims.” (Michael Tomasky, “The Brown-Warren Debate,” The Daily Beast, 9/21/12)
The Boston Globe’s Joan Vennochi: “He scored some points at the end, when he brought up Warren’s representation of an insurance company against worker claims of asbestos poisoning: ‘She didn’t fight for the victims,’ he declared.” (Joan Vennochi, Op-Ed, “A Night Of Smirks And Verbal Jabs,” The Boston Globe, 9/21/12)
The Boston Globe’s Tom Keane: “And once the questioning left economics – clearly Warren’s strong suit – she floundered, falling back on her own rehearsed lines (e.g., I’m not a professional politician) and pointedly avoiding Brown’s often sharp attacks on her high salary and work on asbestos.” (Tom Keane, Op-Ed, “Brown Had A Shaky Start But Finished Strong,” The Boston Globe, 9/21/12)
WFXT’s Cosmo Macero: “Something people haven’t been talking about in a while, he really brought back into the fore here with the Travelers asbestos case. I think that’s going to have a lasting impact. I think you’ll see that, perhaps in ads and campaign messaging going forward. I thought that was an important moment for him also.” (WFXT-TV, 9/20/12)