Romney, US Sen. Brown Play Down Past

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"It's a new day in Massachusetts politics when the Democrats are calling for a recount," said Romney, who appeared at a Statehouse news conference with Brown after the election.

When longtime Democratic Sen. Edward M. Kennedy died of brain cancer in 2009, Romney supported Brown in the special election to fill the seat. Though Brown was considered a long shot, Romney issued campaign fundraising letters on his behalf.

"Scott's election would shock the country," Romney wrote. "Wouldn't it be nice to elect a fiscal conservative to Ted Kennedy's seat in the United States Senate?"

Romney had challenged Kennedy for the seat in 1994, and lost.

The mutual accolades reached a pinnacle at an annual meeting of conservative activists the month after Brown's election to the Senate.

Introducing Romney, Brown joked that at the start of his Senate campaign "I could have held my campaign rally in a phone booth" and Romney was "one of those guys who was in that phone booth with me."

Romney returned the compliment moments later.

"Scott Brown, boy, I'd take him anywhere I could take him," he told the crowd.

Except that neither has taken the other anywhere lately.

Democrats are busy trying to make voters aware of the ties between Romney and Brown, especially in Massachusetts, where Brown faces a tough fight against likely Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren.

Democrats note that Romney and Brown both supported an amendment in the Senate this year that would have allowed employers or health insurers to deny coverage for services they said violated their moral or religious beliefs, including birth control. The amendment failed.

"Scott Brown and Mitt Romney have made clear that they share a close personal relationship as Massachusetts Republicans," state Democratic Party spokesman Kevin Franck said in a statement. "They share the same policy agenda of protecting tax breaks for big oil and millionaires, while refusing to invest in helping the middle class."

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