- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 21, 2010

BOSTON | Massachusetts’ U.S. Sen.-elect Scott Brown said Wednesday he believes in a “big-tent philosophy” for the Republican Party and said that his election, powered by a populist surge of independent voters, signals the arrival of a “new breed of Republican” on Capitol Hill.

The nation’s newest political superstar plans a trip to Washington Thursday for a courtesy call on Senate Republican leaders and to meet with other members of the state’s congressional delegation - all Democrats.

“I have been asked many times what kind of Republican I’m going to be, and I really didn’t know how to answer that. So I’d just said I’m going to be a Scott Brown Republican. Maybe there’s a new breed of Republican coming to Washington, [someone] who is not beholden to the special interests of the party and who will look just to solve problems,” he said.

Noting with a laugh that he didn’t get much sleep Tuesday night but still got up early as usual to walk his dogs, Mr. Brown said he is still formulating which issues and priorities he will focus on when he takes office.

Brown aides formally petitioned Massachusetts Secretary of State William F. Galvin Wednesday to certify his stunning upset win over Democratic state Attorney General Martha Coakley on the basis of the unofficial election returns. Mr. Brown’s margin of victory exceeds the number of uncounted absentee ballots still outstanding.

The partisan bickering over when Mr. Brown would be sworn in eased off Wednesday after President Obama said the Senate should wait until Mr. Brown is seated before taking any new action on the health care reform bill.

While Mr. Brown gives Republicans a crucial 41st Senate vote to sustain filibusters of Mr. Obama’s top agenda items, he repeatedly stressed his independence in the brief meeting with reporters Wednesday morning.

“I’m not beholden to anyone,” Mr. Brown said in a morning press conference at the Boston’s Park Plaza Hotel. On the campaign trail, “the No. 1 thing I heard is that people are tired of business as usual” and the “the behind-the-scenes deals,” he said.

Taking a seat held for 47 years by liberal icon Edward M. Kennedy, Mr. Brown scoffed at a question about whether he thinks he’s “presidential timber” as a result of his win.

“I haven’t even been down to Washington yet. I don’t want to say that’s a silly question, but, uh …” he said to laughter in the room.

But he grew emotional when he sought to explain what being elected to the Senate means for him, citing his parents’ marital struggles, his mother’s time on welfare and his own “issues” growing up.

“If you would have told me … I’d be standing here before you right now and going to Washington, D.C. - are you kidding me?” he said, his eyes looking a bit misty.

“I don’t know if you guys understand that. … I can’t tell you how proud I am to be here, standing before you all, and having an opportunity to help send the country in a different and better direction,” he said.

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