‘President Didn’t Expect To Lose’ the Massachusetts Senate Race, Says Spokesman Gibbs
January 20, 2010 - 3:55 PMThe White House accepted some responsibility for the surprising Republican win Tuesday in the Massachusetts special election for the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by liberal Democrat Ted Kennedy for 47 years.
"A lot of people bear responsibility for what happened last night,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters on Wednesday. “The president didn't expect to lose that Senate race, nor did I."
"Everybody bears some responsibility, including the White House," said Gibbs.
Republican Scott Brown, a Massachusetts state senator, defeated the state's Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley in what is arguably the most liberal state in the nation.
Brown provides the 41st vote for the Senate GOP, which will allow the minority party to filibuster legislation. The Democrats needed 60 votes on Christmas Eve when they approved the Senate health care bill.
Brown campaigned against the health care legislation and specifically said that, if elected, he would use his vote as the 41st Republican senator to vote against the proposal. Brown’s victory fueled speculation that health care reform is dead.
But Gibbs said he does not think that is the case.
"I wouldn't boil it [the Senate race] down to one issue," Gibbs said. "It's an issue the candidate that won last night said was not the only issue."
Asked to say who was most to blame for the loss, Gibbs said he would not prioritize.
"I don't want to get into the blame game," Gibbs said. "I said a lot of people bear responsibility. I won't do the percentages, as tempting as that might be."
Brown won the special election with 52 percent of the vote; Coakley won 47 percent of the vote. (Liberty Party candidate Joe Kennedy won 1 percent of the vote. Sen. Ted Kennedy (D) had held the Senate seat from November 1962 to August 2009, when he died of brain cancer.