With two words, Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown launched himself into controversy Thursday morning when he joked about being glad that Elizabeth Warren, his likely Democratic opponent in 2012, had never posed in the nude.
Brown was responding to a quip Warren made at a Democratic debate Tuesday. Asked how she had paid for college – compared with Brown, who once posed partially nude for Cosmopolitan – Warren said: “I kept my clothes on.”
Brown fired back during an interview onBoston radio station WZLX: “Thank God!”
The jab went over well with the host, who laughed, then tried to stoke the flames.
“That’s what I said,” the host responded. “I said, look, can you blame a good looking guy for, you know, for wanting to…”
Warren has a strong following and is known for her consumer advocacy. Obama tapped her last year to set up a new consumer protection agency, but Republicans opposed letting her head the agency.
She entered the Senate race in mid-September after being heavily courted, but her nomination is not guaranteed – the Democratic primary field is packed with other contenders. Brown’s comment made him an easy target at a time when he’d be better off laying low and letting the Democrats fight it out.
Brown cut in with an attempt to soften the jab: “You know what, listen, bottom line is I didn’t go to Harvard. You know, I went to the school of hard knocks and I did whatever I had to do to pay for school.”
(Warren also did not go to Harvard, though she is a Harvard law professor.)
Brown went on to describe how he faced “real challenges growing up.”
“You know, whatever,” he said. “You know, let them throw stones. I did what I had to do. And but not for having that opportunity, I never would have been able to pay for school and never would have gone to school and I wouldn’t probably be talking to you, so, whatever.”
The host didn’t want to let Brown’s initial comment go, and Brown wasn't going to take all the blame.
“That’s funny you throw that jab, because –“ the host began. But Brown again cut him off.
"You said it too!” Brown replied.
The Massachusetts Democratic Party was quick to respond, scolding Brown for the comment.
"Sen. Brown's comments are the kind of thing you would expect to hear in a frat house, not a race for U.S. Senate," executive director Clare Kelly said in a statement. "Scott Brown's comments send a terrible message that even accomplished women who are held in the highest esteem can be laughingly dismissed based on their looks."