Ted Kennedy's replacement in the Senate doesn't appear to be quite as articulate as his predecessor.


Newly minted Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), elected to the late Kennedy's seat in a special election, stumbled after reporters asked him why he opposed financial reform. The new legislation will take a financial toll on the nation's largest banking institutions in an effort to forestall future financial meltdowns.

Asked by the Boston Globe how he'd like to see the bill improved, Brown fumbled -- appearing not even to know what it was he wanted changed in order to garner his support.

Brown left open the possibility that he could support a compromise.

"I want to see when it's going to come up, how it's going to come up,'' he said. "I'm always open to trying to work something through so it is truly bipartisan.''

Brown, whose vote could be critical as Democrats seek to find a GOP member to avoid a filibuster, assiduously avoided talking about specifics.

When asked what areas he thought should be fixed, he replied: "Well, what areas do you think should be fixed? I mean, you know, tell me. And then I'll get a team and go fix it.''

Even the Globe struggled to explain Brown's position: "He appeared to oppose the creation of a consumer protection agency within the Federal Reserve. 'It’s more government, it’s more government regulation at a time when businesses are trying just to pay their bills,' he said. 'Is that good? . . . If it’s an area we need to fix, then I’m certainly open to it. But I haven’t heard that that’s the biggest thing that’s problematic with it.'"

Liberal bloggers immediately jumped down Brown's throat, pointing out that he received a veritable truckload of cash from the financial services industry just before his election.

ThinkProgress, the blog of the progressive thinktank Center for American Progress, noted that their analysis found that Brown received $200,000 in campaign donations from Wall Street and business executives. $106,000 came from Wall Street executives alone.

The Chamber of Commerce, a Republican-oriented trade group, also spent $1 million on issue ads supporting Brown in the final days of his campaign, ThinkProgress noted.

Brown's comments were first highlighted by Washington Monthly.