Tales from the Trail

Scott Brown’s latest channels poet Langston Hughes

Scott Brown, locked in a tight race to hold onto his Senate seat from Massachusetts, has become the second Republican in the current election cycle to channel Langston Hughes, the African American social activist poet with Communist sympathies who is also regarded as a literary hero by many in the gay community.

A new video from Brown, soliciting donations for his neck-and-neck campaign against Democrat Elizabeth Warren, is headlined “Let America Be America Again” – the title of Hughes’ well-known 1935 poem, first published in Esquire magazine, that suggests the American dream never really existed for many Americans, including the lower classes, blacks, Native Americans, and other minority groups.

“There’s never been equality for me/Nor freedom in this ‘homeland of the free,’” Hughes writes in an aside between verses. “America never was America to me.”

The Brown campaign’s two and a half minute video tribute to small business, complete with stirring music and iconic images such as flags and white picket fences, chronicles what it portrays as a change in the United States from the words of John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Lyndon Johnson – Democrats all – as well as Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan, to current President Barack Obama and Warren, his uber-progressive rival.

After showing Old Glory lying sadly in a grey landscape, the video cuts to soundbites from Warren and Obama talking about how those who succeeded in business had help along the way.

Scott Brown jabs Elizabeth Warren’s Hollywood supporters

Republican Scott Brown, in a close race to keep his Senate seat in Massachusetts, is mounting a new fundraising drive using donations to rival Elizabeth Warren by a bevy of Hollywood talent as catnip for potential donors.

“What do actresses Charlize Theron, Sally Field, Kyra Sedgwick, Kate Capshaw, and Reese Witherspoon have in common? ” Brown asked rhetorically in an email to supporters on Thursday. “They’re all big bankrollers for Professor Elizabeth Warren who raises money like she wants to be the first United States Senator to represent Hollywood.”

The Brown campaign is smarting after trailing Warren in the second quarter. For April-June, Warren, a Harvard Law School professor and former Obama administration official, raised $8.67 million to Brown’s $5 million. Brown still holds a $2 million advantage in cash on hand for the final months of the closely watched Senate campaign.

Scott Brown trails Elizabeth Warren in Q2 donations

The race for the Senate seat from Massachusetts is shaping up as one of the marquee Congressional contests of the year, and likely the most expensive, as both candidates keep up a frenetic fundraising pace.

On Thursday, the campaign of Republican Senator Scott Brown said it hauled in $5 million for his re-election campaign in the second quarter – a strong result, but well short of his Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren, who on Monday announced she had pulled in $8.67 million for the quarter.

Warren raised $3.1 million for June alone, suggesting a weeks-long controversy over whether she had claimed Native American heritage to further her academic career did little to dent her popularity.

Elizabeth Warren recalls Girl Scouts armed with sharp knives

Monday is the 100th birthday of the Girl Scouts of the USA, an organization that has made it their mission to help young girls develop their full potential. So what better way to mark the occasion for Elizabeth Warren, candidate for the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts, than a fund-raising solicitation?

Democrat Warren, who is in a close race with Republican Scott Brown, reminisced in a note to supporters about the days when her daughter and some-time collaborator Amelia Warren Tyagi was a Brownie and Warren was a troop leader.

“When the girls were about eight, we decided to do a several-week project on cooking, culminating in each team of girls making an awesome mac-and-cheese. And the girls made other masterpieces: jello-with-canned-fruit, pancakes, biscuits, and barbecue sauce,” said the Harvard Law School professor and former Obama administration official.

As for Elizabeth Warren? Barney Frank says: “Let’s fight!”

RTXQB96_Comp1-150x150Is President Obama up for a Senate confirmation fight over Elizabeth Warren? Maybe not right now. But that’s just the sort of rhetorical rumble Barney Frank would like to see.

The former Democratic chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, who co-authored the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill, tells MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that Warren might survive a confirmation battle.

His reasoning? “This is not just the left and the right. The Republican Party is united against healthcare and united against the environment. They’re not united against financial reform.”

Calm before the storm: Does silence on Warren signal decision soon?

An eerie calm has descended over the blogosphere after the feeding frenzy that broke out earlier this week on whether President Barack Obama was poised to name Elizabeth Warren to lead the new consumer financial agency.

The week started with an avalanche of stories and blogs speculating on the possibility of Obama naming Warren, a Harvard law professor, as an interim director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The move would have allowed Obama to avoid what would likely be a heated confirmation battle.

Obama to push message on economy, hold news conference

Washington pundits questioned President Barack Obama’s decision to devote so much time this week to foreign policy with his Iraq speech on Tuesday and his foray on Wednesday into Middle East peacemaking at a time when Americans are preoccupied with the economy.

But Obama’s message next week seems like it will be heavily focused on jobs and the economy. He will mark Labor Day with a “Laborfest” event on Monday in Milwaukee and travel to Cleveland on Wednesday for an event on the economy. USA/

On Friday, he will hold a news conference at the White House.

Could next week bring a decision on how he will fill two key jobs — chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and the head of the new U.S. consumer agency?

Elizabeth Warren’s rap video

Consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren is among a handful of candidates President Barack Obama is considering to become the first chief of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Some ardent supporters clearly think the Harvard law professor (and chief of a panel monitoring the government’s $700 billion bailout of the financial system)  is up for the task of heading the independent agency created under the  financial reform bill signed into law last month.

A group called The Main Street Brigade, which supported creating the consumer agency, really wants Warren to be the boss.  The group has taken its case to YouTube  in a western-themed music video,  “Elizabeth Warren Rap Video – Got a new Sheriff.”

The new consumer financial protection agency will regulate a range of consumer financial businesses from mortgage lending to payday loans and check cashing businesses. Its mission — to protect ordinary borrowers from abuses by lenders.

Warren sees dark times if financial reform fails

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Elizabeth Warren paints a disturbing picture of the realities facing the United States and the Obama administration as Americans claw their way clear of the worst recession since the 1930s.

Lobbyists for the financial industry have put the kibosh on market reforms that would aid the recovery. Banks, saved from Tartarus by taxpayer money, are using a free government guarantee against failure to rebuild profits and credit ratings, while either not lending to business or trying to milk American consumers of every dime they’ve still got.

“That’s our plan to rebuild the American economy. Think about it,” says the bespectacled Harvard professor who chairs the Congressional Oversight Panel set up to investigate the $700 billion banking bailout.