On January 13, after a televised debate in which [Scott] Brown scored points by describing the open Senate seat as «the people’s seat», not the Kennedys’, a quote appeared in the middle of a Boston Globe story that would soon be remembered as one of the great gaffes of modern American politics.
The Brown campaign had posted video of its candidate shaking hands outside Boston’s Fenway Park, a shrine in Massachusetts. A Globe reporter asked [Martha] Coakley why she was in Salem at a rally of the Salem School Committee instead of meeting voters. «As opposed to standing outside Fenway Park? In the cold? Shaking hands?» Coakley said dismissively. «I now know the members of the [Salem] School Committe, who know far more people than I could ever meet.»
The next morning, Obama, who had been keeping up with the race since the first disturbing poll, wandered into Axelrod’s office as usual. When Axelrod told him the Fenway story, the president reached out and grabbed his shirt.
«No! No! You’re making that up! That can’t be right! Tell me she didn’t say that!» Obama said, with a few obscenities tossed in. That was the moment the full weight of it hit him. Health care was in deep trouble. So was his presidency.
Even before setting off for Massachusetts for a futile weekend of campaigning, Obama knew Coakley was finished.
Jonathan Alter (2010) – The Promise. President Obama, Year One. (s. 418).