ABC News’ Rick Klein (@rickklein) reports: Newton Mayor Setti Warren announced his candidacy for the Senate this week, the latest in a growing field of Democratic candidates who are hoping to take down Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., next year.
Warren, an Iraq war veteran and former aide to Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., had been urged not to run by some Democratic power-brokers who wanted a more seasoned candidate to take on Brown.
But the young mayor – the state’s first black mayor to have been elected by popular vote – told us on ABC’s “Top Line” that he’s got the range of experienced needed to represent the Bay state in the Senate.
“I understand how to create jobs here in Massachusetts,” Warren told us. “We really need to have someone who understands the values and the sentiments of the state, who will provide the leadership needed, and the skill set. I think those skill sets represent what we need right now in that seat.”
Warren has taken some heat from Republicans for attacking Brown over his support for a tax-cut compromise late last year, even though President Obama helped cut that deal — and Kerry, among other Democrats, voted for it.
Warren deflected questions about how he would have voted on that package, saying that “the president made the best deal possible.” But he said he would not vote to further extend tax cuts for upper-income Americans.
“Scott Brown's approach was to hold middle-class tax cuts hostage in order to give the wealthiest Americans tax cuts. He made that decision in December; the president made the best deal possible at that point,” he said.
“We're at a time now that president has made clear that we need to move forward and not extend the tax cuts for the wealthy — invest in job creation and competitiveness. Brown has been on the record as late as April saying he would support those tax cuts. It makes no sense.”
While Brown has proven popular in polls in Massachusetts, Warren said Massachusetts voters will reject him in his bid for a full term.
“Scott Brown committed to being an independent voice in this state. And he hasn't — he's voted 87 percent of the time with his national Republican leaders. He's voted to gut programs that matter — job creation, job training. Those are values that aren't represented here in Massachusetts. He doesn't believe in the science of global warming. That's not the kind of leadership that we need in the seat right now. And I think people in this state don't understand it, and I think they’re not going to support it in 2012.”
Warren also said he’d push to wind down the war in Afghanistan: “I am pleased that we found and killed Osama bin Laden. We have to make sure that the region is safe, and that we begin to bring our troops home. I've been talking about this for the past four day — reducing our military footprint in that part of the world.”
And – responding to a famous campaign flub that contributed to the downfall of the Democrat who lost to Brown in 2009, Martha Coakley – Warren said that yes, he’s ready to shake hands in the cold outside Fenway Park.
“I love the Red Sox — they're doing pretty well. I was at a game a few weeks ago. I’m gonna be out there, and across the state. We've been to cities and towns — that's the kind of campaign I'm going to run, and that's the kind of campaign that will win.”
Watch the full interview with Setti Warren HERE: