The Blunt Amendment was voted down by the U.S. Senate yesterday, but the controversial measure is still serving as a rallying cry for Elizabeth Warren, who hopes to unseat Senator Scott Brown in Massachusetts. The bill would have allowed companies to deny insurance coverage to employees for contraception based on moral or religious reasons.
Searches today related to Warren, Brown, and the Blunt Amendment – sponsored by Republican Senator Roy Blunt – turn up ads for Warren. “Stop the Blunt Amendment… Join Elizabeth Warren’s fight for women’s health.”
The Senate fight over the bill may be over, but the Warren campaign is banking on the issue, which pits concerns about religious freedom against women’s healthcare, in order to generate support for the candidate. Warren has gained national popularity in recent years as a crusader for Wall Street reform. Her campaign to beat Brown, who stunned the political establishment by winning Ted Kennedy’s long-held seat, is among the most closely watched of the 2012 congressional races.
The Kennedy name also became a political football in the Blunt battle. On Twitter a few days ago Warren declared, “Tell Scott Brown: respect the Kennedy family’s wishes and stop invoking Ted Kennedy’s name.” The post linked to a petition on her site detailing a letter sent by Patrick Kennedy, Ted’s son, to Brown.
“Providing health care to every American was the work of my father’s life,” noted Kennedy in the letter cited on Warren’s website. “The Blunt Amendment you are supporting is an attack on that cause… I ask that, moving forward, you do not confuse my father’s positions with your own.” Brown purported that the late Kennedy would have taken his same stance in support of the Blunt amendment.
The petition on the Warren campaign site suggested, “We ask that you respect the Kennedy family’s wishes and stop invoking Senator Kennedy’s name.”
Warren also posted her radio ad opposing the Blunt amendment on her YouTube channel. The ad asks supporters to “stand with” her by visiting her website.
Brown’s campaign does not appear to be as focused on the issue online as the Warren camp is as a means of generating donations and signups. The senator did, however, link to his February 17 Boston Herald op-ed about the topic on Facebook.