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Brown makes a campaign lunch stop in South End

Date: 2/1/2012

Feb. 1, 2012

By G. Michael Dobbs

SPRINGFIELD — Although it might have looked like Sen. Scott Brown was merely taking a break from the work of his reelection effort on Jan. 25, Brown’s stop at Milano Imported Fine Foods on Main Street in the South End neighborhood was more than just that.

Brown was showing his support for a business that rebuilt after being devastated by the June 1, 2011 tornado and publicizing an agreement that has made national news.

In the first election since the Citizens United Supreme Court decision that paved the way for “super” political action committees (PACS), Brown and his Democratic opponent Elizabeth Warren have agreed not to support attack ads from groups that support their candidacy.

In the deli and market crowded with members of the press and local supporters, Brown said the agreement “sends a very good message for Massachusetts.”

When asked about any advice to people trying to start small businesses, Brown said the “biggest challenge is the regulation.” He added that prospective business owners should visit and speak with successful owners.

“People want to work,” Brown noted.

To illustrate the amount of interest the Brown/Warren race is generating, CNN was at Milano’s with a reporter and camera crew. After Brown’s press aide called for an end of the availability, Brown ordered a sandwich to eat with Milano’s owner Nick Recchia.

For the record, he order a prosciutto, mozzarella and tomato sandwich.

Head Cashier Eva Stockhamer said with a smile, “It’s the best we have.”

She thought Brown’s visit was “wonderful” as it called attention to the fact that businesses in the South End are recovering. Milano’s, she said, was closed for seven months.

After the meal, Brown taped additional questions with the CNN reporter as they walked down the sidewalk from the restaurant.

In an email sent to supporters the same day, Brown wrote, “On Monday, our campaign achieved a great victory for Massachusetts and the country by entering into an agreement with our likely Democratic opponent, Professor Elizabeth Warren, that will deter unaccountable Super PACs from polluting Massachusetts airwaves with their vicious attacks.”

He continued, “To date, a wide array of extreme liberal groups have spent over $3 million attacking me with false and misleading ads. Under this new agreement, Professor Warren will have to pay a penalty equal to half the cost of any radio, TV or online ad campaign if a group chooses to support her campaign or attack me. As a result of our agreement, one pro-Warren group has already agreed to take down their ads attacking me.”

Brown will also have pay a penalty as well for an ad that accosts Warren.

In the email, Brown asked for help from his supporters by writing, “It’s easy enough to track television and radio advertising. But it’s a little harder to track online advertising. Will you please keep an eye out and email my new Digital Director, Christy Lewis, at if you see any pro-Warren online advertising so we can make sure Elizabeth Warren honors our agreement? Already we know of one pro-Warren group still running ads on her behalf despite the agreement.”

Brown’s quick visit to Springfield was marked the next day with the release of a letter to him from Rev. Talbot Swan II, president of the Springfield Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Swan urged Brown to reconsider the branch’s request for Brown to “conduct a town hall meeting with our constituents sometime early this year on a date convenient with your schedule.”

Brown’s staff denied the request.

“While I understand the demands of your extremely busy schedule, I remind you that you serve a very diverse constituency across the Commonwealth, including members of the NAACP. It is no secret that you are in the midst of a tough reelection campaign and will be spending quite a bit of time in the Commonwealth in the months to come. It is inconceivable that you cannot find any time during the course of this entire election season to meet with our members in Springfield, which is a par of the Commonwealth, which you represent,” Swan wrote.

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