With Sen. Scott Brown, Public Perception Is Not Reality

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," February 22, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: What an absolute political stunner! Who would have guessed Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy's Senate seat of about 40 years would go to a Republican? And it did. Thirteen months ago Republican Senator Scott Brown surprised not just Massachusetts but the nation and won the special election.

Now Republican Senator Brown is talking about his long road to success in his new book "Against All Odds: My Life of Hardships, Fast Breaks, and Second Chances." Senator Scott Brown went "On the Record."


VAN SUSTEREN: When I first met you, you were at the top of your game. It was a day or two before you won the election. And I had no idea that it had been so -- that nothing came easy for you. That you worked hard at everything.

SEN. SCOTT BROWN, R-MASS.: I think my life is no different than many other families, where they are faced with tough decisions, tough choices and tough circumstances. The message is if you get some good people around you, you can battle back and make a difference and get out of that cycle.

VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, but for you it took a little longer. You grew up in a family without a Americans do in this day and age. But there was questions of even having to try to find a way to eat because there wasn't a lot of money. It was a very rugged upbringing compared to what you have achieved.

BROWN: One thing my mom instilled in my sister and me is a good work ethic. She had two or three jobs at all times telling us you can do better you can work, work. And I still have that. That's something that I care very much about still and have taken with me each and every day.

VAN SUSTEREN: There's a lot written about your early life. You can do that in other interviews. I want to talk about your wife. You first saw and her and you loved. I think you used the term "mesmerized." Is that the word you used?



BROWN: She was a very intelligent and beautiful woman then and she still is. When she ended a room you would turn and look. And her laugh was endearing and she has a good sense of humor. To put up with me, she has to.

VAN SUSTEREN: How long have you been married?

BROWN: It's been 24 years.

VAN SUSTEREN: What is the trick? Is it in part the work because the first part of your family imploded a little bit that you put extra effort in the second part to keep your family strong?

BROWN: My mom and dad were married four times each. My mom is happily divorced and my dad is happily remarried. I always remembered I'm never going to do that, or I'll do it better. I've instilled that kind of balance when you are in a marriage you have to have a sense of humor and you need to be patient. Sometimes you can't fight about the small things.

VAN SUSTEREN: I don't think people realize or even the media, it is always so different on the inside than the outside. Even you write about it in your book a little bit, things we may write about or think about it is different on the home front isn't it?

BROWN: I think with everybody. Obviously, we are public figures, and to let people in, sometime it is threat anyone. For me to wrestle through a lot that I talked about, I felt it was appropriate, I didn't want to over the tough things and just say, I won a great election and everything is hunky-dory great, because it is not.

My family is a work in progress. I have a wonderful marriage and two great kids we work at it. We are always trying to do better and be more understanding and patient. We battle when we have to and we laugh when we have to.

VAN SUSTEREN: When you decided to run for Senate, you have in the book your wife said if you want to make a fool of yourself. And then you were a plotter in terms of getting up and knocking on doors and doing your politicking.

I always thought what was instrumental, not to take away from you, the health care last minute deal that Senator Harry Reid struck with Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson in late December, I thought that hurt Martha Coakley your opponent, I thought that made the Democrats look bad.

BROWN: Whole health care bill the way they rammed it through, when I got there to circumvent my vote to do something as big as that to reconciliation, not give the American people a chance to have their representatives vote and debate and approve or amend it.

The fact they almost turned themselves into pretzels to pass it is evident to what is happening today. People sent a message in November. They are still angry and now are trying to repeal it. It is clear it is broken. Either repeal it, replace it, fix it, or do something. We can't keep it as is.

VAN SUSTEREN: Were you surprised to get a call from Vice President Biden?

BROWN: Yes. I got a lot of calls that night. I still have it on my cell phone. That's one that I won't ever he erase.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is there a way we can tell the sanitized version why he called you a wise guy at the White House?

BROWN: It was after the health care bill he said on the air, Mr. President this is a big deal. We were walking around and he was showing me this and that. He said Mr. Vice President, he said call me Joe. I said this is a blank big deal. He said you are a wise guy aren't you? I said yes. He said we are going to get along just fine. We have a cordial relationship. We agree sometimes and we disagree respectfully.

VAN SUSTEREN: Behind the scenes politics, people think it is all war. The night you won, you made a phone call -- Senator Ted Kennedy. You took that seat. There was a big dispute whether it is his seat or the people's seat. You made a call to Vicki Kennedy.

BROWN: She was the first one I called. Her and her family were always gracious to me I knew the senator obviously being a state senator worked with him on various issues affecting my then 12 communities. One thing I appreciated was hi dedication public service. We didn't agree on a heck of a lot but I have great admiration for his service.

VAN SUSTEREN: Now are in the limelight you bring a lot on the family. There's a reference in the book after you went to the White House correspondence dinner someone took a swipe at your wife's dress. What do you say to your two children, your wife?

BROWN: They are used to it. One on "American Idol," Gail is in the media. Arianna is the one I worry about she is not in the public eye, and when someone takes swipes at your kids or family you get your hair up a bit. But I'm a public figure, so swipe away, bring it on.

VAN SUSTEREN: At some point you are going to walk away from the Senate, when you walk away, what do you want to walk away having accomplished?

BROWN: The fact that I contributed to moving our country forward to tackling the real fiscal and financial problems we are facing now, because we are in deep trouble. If I can do anything to get our country moving again on a fiscal footing that we need to have to compete globally, if I've contributed to that to getting them to talk to focus on the real issues, I'll be a happy man.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is the job fun or not?

BROWN: Yes, 80 percent of the time it is fun. But it is a lot of work. I've had solid colleagues. When people say they don't talk, they don't do this. In the Senate at least, I don't know about the House, we have a cordial and respectful relationship. Even though leaders battle publicly they talk regularly as we all do to try to find common ground. We respectfully disagree when we don't agree.

My hope is we have opportunities now are coming up with not only the CR but the debt ceiling and other things, we have opportunities to tackle these issues and send a powerful message to the world that the United States is ready for business. We are serious about getting our debt and deficit in order, and we want your business. Come on back.

VAN SUSTEREN: If you can model yourself after a Republican senator and a Democratic senator currently, who are the two model ones?

BROWN: Senator Thune and I are close, obviously Senator McCain and a host of other senators. I respect Senator Carpenter, Casey and anybody who wants to focus on real issues I have a lot of respect for.