The liberal Center for American Progress planned, and then cancelled, an advertising campaign welcoming Senator Scott Brown to Washington, D.C. in 2010 by plastering the sides of city buses with nude photographs from his past career in as a model.
The eye-catching campaign from Campus Progress, aimed at pressing Brown to support a Democratic push to remake the federal student loan program, would have marked a confrontational approach from the Democratic Party establishment toward a Senator who has, at times, proved a swing-voting moderate. But senior Center for American Progress officials pulled the plug on the campaign, sources said, after deciding that they would be better off working with the Massachusetts moderate.
“It was a concept that we considered because we were trying to draw attention to the need for stronger student financial aide policies, but we considered a lot of concepts,” said the former director of Campus Progress, David Halperin, who declined to comment on why the Brown campaign was killed.
A source familiar with the decision-making, however, said CAP’s leadership decided to scuttle the effort after Winnie Stachelberg, its Executive Vice President for External Affairs, met with Brown’s staff.
“They wanted him to be more of an Olympia Snowe,” the source said. The confrontational campaign, they worried, would alienate the new senator.
In the end, Brown voted against the health care and education package that included both the student loan overhaul and the health care legislation he had been elected to stop. He has, however, voted with Democrats on other issues.
A spokesman for the Center for American Progress didn’t respond to an inquiry about the scuttled campaign.
UPDATE: Campus Progress director Anne Johnson said in an emailed statement: “The ad campaign was a concept that Campus Progress considered and it was Campus Progress that decided against running the ad.”