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What Brown can do for you

"What Brown can do for you" Continued...

Issue: "The Haiti quake," Feb. 13, 2010

The Brown party roiled with characters outside the Republi­can base. Two Democrats in the crowd, who supported Brown but didn't want to be identified at a Republican bash, joked that they were "just there for the salami." One wore a tie with American flags on it: "Can you believe I even have this tie?" he said to me. Among the throng was Mineau, as well as Tea Party volunteers, Brown's buddies from the National Guard where he has served over 30 years, and some members of teachers unions (who also didn't want to give their names and be associated with a Republican).

Coakley conceded by 10 p.m., and then Brown emerged to address a sea of faces: "For [Democrats], it's just the beginning of an election year filled with many, many surprises. There's trouble everywhere and they know it."

On Brown's first visit to a chaotic Capitol Hill two days later, he was met with camera bulbs and bustling reporters, who ladled on questions while Brown took a moment to note, "A lot of you don't know me." He stopped first at the office of someone who knew him before everyone else in the country did: Senate "maverick" John McCain, R-Ariz., who met with Brown months before the election and told him he could win. McCain is a moderate like Brown who may guide the freshman senator-but as the press herded off down the hall behind Brown, McCain said that he should be the one asking Brown for advice. "He won, I lost," he said, smiling.

Brown's campaign-especially his appeal to independent voters-is becoming a blueprint for Republicans to win in November and beyond. And the Massachusetts Family Institute might be a harbinger of where pro-life groups are headed politically: to embrace moderate candidates in blue states who can move their cause forward in some fashion. "It's rocky soil up here in New England," Mineau reflected. "We need to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves in this arena."

Emily Belz
Emily Belz

Emily, who has covered everything from political infighting to pet salons for The Indianapolis Star, The Hill, and the New York Daily News, reports for WORLD from New York City. Follow Emily on Twitter @emzleb.

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