Updated at 5:51 p.m.
After a good amount of Democratic hand-wringing over Elizabeth Warren's campaign ads (with even Michael Dukakis expressing his disappointment in them), the Boston Globe's Frank Phillips has a story today about the pressure Team Warren is under to retool their ad strategy, "to soften her image, while focusing more directly on" Brown.
From the story:
According to top Democratic leaders in Massachusetts, Warren campaign advisers are considering a new strategy that will be aimed at toning down what those leaders call the preachy tone that has dominated her ads until now. Instead, some of the spots would rely more on the voices of voters from all walks of life describing what Warren's supporters say is the warm personality of a popular university professor. They would also zero in on Brown, acknowledging that while he is a likable public figure, he is not the moderate Republican that he makes himself out to be.
As Reid Wilson pointed out back in May, Brown must maintain his high personal favorability in order to overcome the fact that he's running in blue Massachusetts in a presidential year. So far, he's been able to do so. The candidates signed a pledge earlier this year banning outside group ads and in their absence, both candidates have thus far stuck to positive ads -- making it the only competitive Senate race in the nation where negative ads aren't being run by either the candidates or by outside groups. And without Warren running negative ads, Brown has been able to continue presenting himself as a likeable, independent senator who understands Massaschusetts without having to go on the defense or run an attack on his opponent.
Brown made sure to express his displeasure with the idea of Warren going negative. "It would be unfortunate if Elizabeth Warren attacked me with her ads, as Globe reports," he tweeted
. "I had hoped for better."
Brown's campaign then issued a statement for good measure. "I was disappointed to read in today's Boston Globe that Elizabeth Warren is preparing to run ads attacking me," said Brown. "I had hoped for better in this campaign, and the voters of Massachusetts deserve better. In the past, she has criticized negative advertising, but now appears ready to adopt it based on the advice she's getting from her Washington D.C. advisors. What her campaign doesn't understand is that the problem voters have is not with Professor Warren's TV ads, it's her extremist views and her role as the founder of the radical Occupy protest movement that are turning people off."
Warren did debut a new television ad
Wednesday afternoon, and while it didn't go after her opponent, it was a shift from previous ads in that it didn't feature her speaking, instead using a voiceover and various people talking about Warren over clips of her on the campaign trail (the campaign did run a similar ad
this spring). While it's certainly a step, don't expect the Democratic criticism to let up until she goes after Brown on television.