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By Ed O'Keefe

Highlights of Tuesday's Post Politics Hour, where virtually all of the queries focused on Tuesday's Massachusetts Senate race:

Politics Hour

Boston: Heading off to vote right now. Reading some of the comments and seeing some televised interviews of voters, I wonder what marginal effect gender has played. Given a margin of victory likely within 5-10 points, effects on the margin can be crucial. I'm curious what the vote difference would have been if it had been Mike Capuano as the Democrat and he had made many of the same mistakes Coakley did.

Ed O'Keefe: One Massachusetts voter I know said Coakley "is not the warm and fuzzy type."

I do see a glaring double standard in Brown's semi-nude photo spread that appeared in Cosmopolitan Magazine in the 1980s. What if that had been Coakley? It would have created days' worth of stories, right? But Brown appears semi-nude and not much of a peep? Women think it's "hot" and male reporters all but ignore it? Double standard? I think so.

That said -- watch the ads and her speeches, and it seems that Coakley cannot easily connect with Massachusetts voters, especially the ones upset and confused by the current political climate. You run her against a guy who's willing to drive around the state and shake hands in the cold, and that endears him to folks who haven't heard or seen much that they like from Coakley.

It's unclear what might have happened if one of the Massachusetts House members had run -- though they might have faced a similar fate. I suspect Ed Markey would not have sat back like Coakley did, but would have faced charges of being a "liberal" or "Washington insider."

--

Whither, DNC: It is beyond obvious that the Democrats, from the White House down, believed the Dem primary was a race to decide the name on a Senate office door. The lack of interest from the White House was to be expected, the election not involving Chicago, after all. But if the DNC didn't have December polls showing the race tightening, why not? And if they did, why wasn't DNC Chair Tim Kaine kicking some Mass. butt to get them going? The White House is once again saying horrible campaign, horrible candidate, but again, isn't that the responsibility of the DNC and the head of the party (Obama), to make sure the party runs good candidates? Of course, that's working well in MA and NY, so...Kaine got his job as a reward to a term-limited gov whose only accomplishments were to become an early Obama supporter and get credit for delivering VA to Obama in the primary and the general election. Maybe Commerce would have been a safer job.

Ed O'Keefe: You'll see plenty of finger-pointing in the coming days IF Coakley loses. (Remember folks -- the polls are still open and anything can happen. See Primary 2008, New Hampshire Democratic)

But there will be plenty of blame to go around -- the Massachusetts State Democratic Party that hasn't faced a closely contested race since Kennedy's 1994 victory over Mitt Romney; a White House that didn't seem to pay enough attention until the end; a DNC that, as you said, might have thought the primary would decide it all.

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Redding, CT: Perhaps this is an obvious question, but has Rep. candidate Brown answered it? Where does he get his health insurance? He is a member of the Mass. National Guard, which offers the excellent federal health insurance benefit Tri-Care, to its members. He is a Mass. State Senator, which may well offer government health benefits as well (couldn't find out one way or the other through a quick Google search). And he is representing a state that offers universal health insurance. Why would someone with a multiplicity of government insurance programs available to HIM have the chutzpah to run on preventing such benefits to everyone else?

Ed O'Keefe: There are several questions about Scott Brown and health care.

Here's what he says about the issue on his Web site's "Issues" section:

"I believe that all Americans deserve health care coverage, but I am opposed to the health care legislation that is under consideration in Congress and will vote against it. It will raise taxes, increase government spending and lower the quality of care, especially for elders on Medicare. I support strengthening the existing private market system with policies that will drive down costs and make it easier for people to purchase affordable insurance.

"In Massachusetts, I support the 2006 healthcare law that was successful in expanding coverage, but I also recognize that the state must now turn its attention to controlling costs."

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Harrisburg, PA: My mother in Hyannis is being driven to the polls by a Republican worker (she's about as liberal as they come) because the Dems aren't offering rides. She got some robocalls from Bill Clinton and Obama, but that's it. And the Cape is heavily Democratic! It doesn't look good for the GOTV effort of the Dems.

Ed O'Keefe: A good anecdote and observation to add to our coverage, thanks.

--
Maryland: Has Brown articulated why he feels mandatory health care is a good idea for states, but not for the federal government?

Ed O'Keefe: Here's a clip from a recent Boston Globe profile:

"Brown supported Massachusetts health care overhaul in 2006 and favors elements advanced in the congressional debate about a national overhaul. But he said he would oppose the bills now moving through Congress because they would help other states at the expense of Massachusetts."

Read the full profile here.

Read the entire Tuesday Post Politics Hour here

By Ed O'Keefe  | January 19, 2010; 11:53 AM ET
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Comments

I am sorry Mr. O'Keefe, you are way out of line speaking of Browns actions in the 80s. You are a typical liberial hypocrite, as apparently Obamination's relationship with his pastor wasn't an issue or all the other thugs obamination associated himself with and BROUGHT in to undermine America. What ever Brown did in the 80s, 30 YEARS AGO, as with Mr. Barry Sotoro in your eyes, has nothing to do with growing up and becoming a man of desire to see America HEALTHY and WHOLE, instead of socialist and broke which it is now.

Posted by: onelordwonforever | January 19, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Why does it have to be about "like" or "dislike" of Barack Obama? Is it not possible to simply dsagree with a policy? It seems to be a shallow assessment designed to minimize those who choose individualism over collectivism. For my part, I view the pending healthcare legislation as a power and money grab. Most of the money will go to pay the salaries of bureaucrats and what is left over will be rationed.

Posted by: ddcannady | January 19, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

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