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Hot Button

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Trucking it

There's something about Republican Scott Brown's truck that has gotten the Democratic establishment all revved up.

Mr. Brown, who is running for a U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts under the GOP banner, often mentions the truck he's used to campaign around the Bay State, and his opponents don't like it one bit.

President Obama, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry and state Attorney General Martha Coakley, the Democrat running against Mr. Brown, each bashed the truck at a rally on Sunday organized to help increase Democratic turnout for the special election on Tuesday.

Mr. Kerry, the first speaker in the lineup, used the truck to liken Mr. Brown to Republican former President George W. Bush. "I've got news for you, Scott: George Bush drove a truck, too, and look where it got us," Mr. Kerry said.

Then Mrs. Coakley picked up the theme. "I'll tell you one thing: Just because you're driving around Massachusetts in a truck doesn't mean you're going in the right direction," she said for an applause line.

Her remarks were followed by a series of jabs at the truck made by Mr. Obama. "He's driving his truck around the Commonwealth …. Well, you've got to look under that hood because what you learn makes you wonder," Mr. Obama cautioned.

He also told voters to "forget the ads."

"Everybody can run slick ads. Forget that truck. Everybody can buy a truck."

But Mr. Obama couldn't forget that truck himself. He brought up the truck again to make a dig at Mr. Brown's opposition to a bank tax by saying, "He decided to park his truck on Wall Street."

The retort

"Mr. President, unfortunately in this economy, not everybody can buy a truck." — Mr. Brown's reaction to Mr. Obama's truck slam.

On the airwaves

MSNBC's "The Ed Show" host Ed Schultz is defending his comments that seemed to support voter fraud after coming under fire from conservative bloggers.

Mr. Schultz said during his radio broadcast, which is separate from his TV show, last Friday he would go to great lengths to help Mrs. Coakley win her race. "I tell you what, if I lived in Massachusetts I'd try to vote 10 times," he said. "I don't know if they'd let me or not, but I'd try to. Yeah, that's right. I'd cheat to keep these bastards out. I would. Because that's exactly what they are."

His comments, and the audio of them, were posted by a number of critical conservative outlets over the weekend, but Mr. Schultz said the "righties" had it all wrong.

On Monday, he kicked off his show with a mock apology. "I misspoke on Friday. I'm sorry, I'm sorry," he said. "I meant to say if I could vote 20 times, that's what I would do," calling those who complained "right-wing nut jobs" and "idiots."

He later added, "Let me be very clear I'm not advocating voter fraud. I'm just saying what I would do."

Questioning the motive

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez suggested in his weekly television program that American relief efforts in Haiti were a conspiracy to take over the struggling nation.

"I read that 3,000 soldiers are arriving, Marines armed as if they were going to war. There is not a shortage of guns there, my God. Doctors, medicine, fuel, field hospitals, that's what the United States should send," Mr. Chavez said on Sunday. "They are occupying Haiti undercover."

He also said that American troops weren't doing humanitarian work. "You don't see them in the streets," he said. "Are they picking up bodies. … Are they looking for the injured? You don't see them. I haven't seen them. Where are they?"

• Amanda Carpenter can be reached at acarpenter@washingtontimes.com