Boston (AP) - The race to succeed the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy has turned into a proxy battle over the fate of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.
A once-pedestrian contest between Democrat Martha Coakley and Republican Scott Brown has coarsened with a week to go, as the two have cast themselves as custodians of the pivotal Senate vote to determine the bill's fate.
"As the 41st senator, I can stop it," Brown said last week during a debate, highlighting his potential to be the breakthrough Senate vote that upholds a GOP filibuster. While he opposes the bill, the state senator voted in 2006 in favor of a Massachusetts universal health care bill that has largely been the model for the Obama legislation.
The stakes are so high Democrats won't rule out taking as long as a month to certify the election results -- should Brown win -- to prevent a Republican from assuming the seat until the Senate completes its work on Kennedy's hallmark legislation...