Scott Brown falls trying to walk a fine line

SCOTT BROWN FALLS TRYING TO WALK A FINE LINE…. Two weeks after voting for a radical plan to eliminate all federal funding for Title X and Planned Parenthood, Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) reversed course this week. In a press statement, the often-confused senator said his own party’s plan on family planning “goes too far.”

Almost immediately, Brown received quite a bit of credit for being a fair-minded moderate, uncomfortable with his party’s extremist agenda, and much of the political world simply overlooked the fact that he’d just voted for the same cuts he now opposes. But yesterday, a new wrinkle came up: did Brown really say what we thought he said?

Opponents of abortion rights read his statement carefully, and concluded that Brown never actually said he supports Planned Parenthood funding. In fact, the statement didn’t even mention Planned Parenthood at all.

So, what’s going on here? It seems Brown is either trying to walk a line that doesn’t exist, or he’s just confused again about the policy details.

The senator’s office sent out the press statement with this headline: “Scott Brown Statement On Budget Negotiations And Planned Parenthood.” This suggested Brown was talking about Planned Parenthood, since it was right there in the headline. But when the group wasn’t referenced in the statement itself, it gave the appearance of wiggle room — maybe the senator only opposes defunding Title X and could still go along with the House effort to gut Planned Parenthood.

The Weekly Standard‘s John McCormack tried to get to the bottom of this.

So does Brown really just oppose defunding Title X? Or does he also oppose defunding Planned Parenthood? Despite emails and phone calls over the past 24 hours requesting clarification, Senator Brown’s spokesmen have not replied to THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

What’s going on here? One possibility is that Senator Brown and/or his staff simply confused the two proposals. Another possibility is that Brown and/or his staff deliberately issued a statement that the media would interpret as a comment on Planned Parenthood, while pro-lifers would see it as merely a statement on Title X.

Brown could very easily clarify matters, but wouldn’t you know it, he no longer wants to talk about this.

I realize polls suggest Brown remains popular in the Bay State, but I wonder whether there will come a point at which Massachusetts voters realize this guy is clearly in over his head.