BOSTON - Democrat Martha Coakley rolled out an eleventh-hour TV ad featuring President Barack Obama amid intense get-out-the-vote efforts by both parties on the eve of today's crucial U.S. Senate election in Massachusetts.
"Martha knows the struggles Massachusetts working families face because she's lived those struggles. She's fought for the people of Massachusetts every single day," Obama says in the spot during a gymnasium rally at Northeastern University.
Coakley's commercial came a day before today's special election for the Senate seat of the late Edward M. Kennedy. Obama needs her to win to deny Republicans the ability to block his initiatives with a 41st filibuster-sustaining GOP vote.
A new InsiderAdvantage poll conducted for POLITICO.com showed Brown surging to a 9-point advantage over Martha Coakley. According to the survey conducted Sunday evening, Brown leads the Democratic attorney general 52 percent to 43 percent.
"I actually think the bottom is falling out," said InsiderAdvantage CEO Matt Towery, referring to Coakley's fall in the polls over the last 10 days. "I think that this candidate is in free fall."
As the final day of campaigning began Monday, Coakley, the Massachusetts attorney general, told more than 1,000 people at a Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast here that the voting is a chance to act on the civil rights leader's dream.
"If Dr. King were here today, he'd be standing with us," she told the heavily black audience. "And I know that he would be standing with us on the front line for health care, not as a privilege, but as a right."
Brown didn't have a speaking role at the breakfast, and he faulted Coakley for using it to tout her candidacy. He also brushed aside criticism from Obama, who had said Brown's truck would drag the country back to the failed policies of the past.
Brown has featured his pickup truck in television ads as a symbol of the traveling he's done to reach out to voters.
"I thought it was pretty funny," the Republican said of Obama's comment. "People are having difficulty even buying trucks these days."
Brown also said he's not paying attention to polls showing him tied with or slightly ahead of Coakley. He credited his surge in the polls to voters' desire for change.