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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tangled web

Scott Brown is quickly seeing the downside of his effort to score points on the contraception issue. Whether he'll learn from the experience is the question.

The Boston Globe has unearthed bills filed by Ted Kennedy that would appear to directly contradict Brown's claim that he and his late predecessor shared a desire for a "conscience protection" to employers who opposed paying for contraception coverage.

Kennedy's son Patrick called Brown out on the issue, asking the current junior senator to withdraw radio ads making the claim. Brown has refused, claiming Kennedy's dying letter to Pope Benedict XVI declaring “I believe in a conscience protection for Catholics in the health care field,’ backs his contention.

But the Globe reports Kennedy sponsored bills in the 1990s and 2000s that would have required all employers who offer prescription drug coverage to include contraception coverage, most recently in 2005.
“Contraceptive insurance coverage is essential for women’s health," Kennedy, then chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, said during a 2001 hearing on the bill that would have extended insurance coverage for contraceptives. 
 And former Kennedy staffers involved in writing the legislation -- and knowing the senator's state of mind -- vigorously dispute Brown's claim:
"This thing is outrageous," said Nick Littlefield, a Kennedy aide who served as staff director for the committee that handled health legislation from 1988 through 1999. Littlefield, also a Democrat, supports Brown’s leading Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren. “It’s just breathtaking, the chutzpah."
But chutzpah may be exactly what Brown is aiming for, tossing red meat to so-called Reagan Democrats to keep them from bolting to his presumptive Elizabeth Warren as he moves to the center on other issues.

And for the sake of consistency, it's fair to point out that Brown, who ran on his opposition to "ObamaCare," has yet to square that position with his support for "RomneyCare." Then again, neither has the Massachusetts legislation's namesake.

And we know the problems Multiple Choice Mitt has been facing as a result of his tangled web of positions.

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