It took all of five minutes for a nude photo shoot Republican Sen. Scott Brown did back in 1982 for Cosmopolitan magazine to become a talking point in the Massachusetts Senate race.
At a debate co-sponsored by the Boston Herald and the University of Massachusetts at Lowell Tuesday, panelists asked Democratic senate candidates to comment on their own college experience in light of the the incumbent senator's colorful modeling past. "To help pay for his law school education, Scott Brown posed for Cosmo. How did you pay for your college education?" a student asked all the candidates during the "lightning round" phase of the questioning.
Democratic frontrunner Elizabeth Warren was the first to reply: "I kept my clothes on," she replied, evoking audience laughter and applause. "I borrowed money." Warren added that she also had student loans and a part-time job--and that this "combination" kept her bills paid.
But Brown wasn't about to let that salvo go unanswered. During a Thursday appearance on WZLX radio, his hosts asked him what he thought about Warren's decision to remain clothed during her college years. Brown's two-word reply was "Thank God."
And just like that, a new round of charges and countercharges went flying on Thursday.
"Sen. Brown's comments are the kind of thing you would expect to hear in a frat house, not a race for US Senate," Clare Kelly, executive director of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, said in a widely-reported 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."
Brown's campaign manager Jim Barnett wrote in an email to the Boston Globe that "it's elitist of Professor Warren to look down at the decisions Scott Brown made to put himself through college and rise above the circumstances of his life. Scott has fought and scraped for everything he's got."
Warren wasn't the only candidate in Tuesday's debate; social entrepreneur Alan Khazei, who is also vying for the Democratic nomination, noted that his wife and daughter were in the audience before insisting that "you definitely won't see me posing for Cosmo."
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