How do you know that Elizabeth Warren won yesterday's debate with Sen. Scott Brown?
This is the worst kind of gaffe, the kind that confirms everything your opponent has been saying about you.
As I detailed in August, Warren needed to debunk the notion that Sen. Brown truly was interested in bipartisan solutions and prove he is really just another conservative obstructionist making progress impossible.
Warren had been making strides towards that goal, and she held a slim lead before this debate. But Brown's high favorability, superficial in my opinion, still keeps him competitive.
Now, Brown has seriously jeopardized his "independent" moderate rep.
Asked a total softball question -- "Who's your model Supreme Court Justice?" -- Brown blurts out the most incendiary infamous right-wing Justice we have, "Justice Scalia."
That alone gives Warren material for five TV ads, tying Brown to Scalia's most radical views on reproductive freedom, civil rights, health care and more.
But then Brown makes his gaffe even worse
After hearing the negative audience reaction, he prattles on about other judges he likes. When the moderators presses him to pick one, Brown bristles, "That's the beauty of being an independent … I don't need to pick one."
And with that, Brown just took the one thing keeping him afloat, his "independent" label, and cheapened it into a political excuse so he could avoid answering a simple question.
The bark protecting Brown is off the tree. And Warren's potent middle-class message stands a much better chance of being heard.