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May 05. 2013 1:37AM

Former Sen. Brown mum on political future at appearance at fundraiser for Child Advocacy Center in Nashua

NASHUA - Former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown gave no further hint of his political aspirations during an appearance Saturday night at a fundraising gala for the Child Advocacy Center of Hillsborough County.

Brown, who has a vacation home in Rye, has said he hasn't ruled out running for office again, possibly against U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and repeated that message Saturday.

"I don't think I need to make any decisions right now, really," he said in an interview before his speech. "I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do, to be honest with you."

Brown served three years in the Senate after defeating Democratic candidate Martha Coakley in a special election held in February 2010 to fill the remaining term of the Senate seat left vacant by the death of Edward Kennedy in 2009. Brown was defeated in a reelection bid in November by Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren.

Brown said in his address Saturday that his "real" reason for speaking at the event - he accepted no appearance fee, according to organizers - was to highlight the terror children face when trying to tell someone about abuse and to ask people to listen to and love their children.

"Do not assume that your kids do not want to hear your love and affection for them," he said. "They want you to be involved. They want you to ask those questions. They might be saying, 'No, no, no,' but in the back of their minds they're saying, 'Oh good, mom and dad are always there.'"

Kristie Palestino, executive director of the Granite State Children's Alliance, which oversees the Child Advocacy Centers in Hillsborough, Cheshire and Belknap counties, said the event is more than about raising money for the organization.

"It's about those children who, right now, are afraid, but they're acting happy," she said. "They're acting like everything is OK because they don't want anyone to ask them questions. They don't want anyone to find out their secret. It's about those children who are living in silence."

Brown said he remembered that many people doubted that he, as a grown, successful adult, was truthful when talking about the sexual and physical abuse he suffered as a child.

"I'm 53 years old. Imagine a 6-, 7- or 10-year-old trying to tell their mom or dad or their brother or sister or their coach or their teacher or their doctor. The pressure is incredible," he said. "Because I remember, 'I'll kill you. You tell anybody, I'll kill you.'

"It's not political, it's personal," he said.

In introducing Brown, U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., made sure to mention his New Hampshire connections and called him "a great leader for our country."

Before his speech, Brown said he found it amusing that the New Hampshire Democratic Party responded the way it did to his run of recent New Hampshire appearances. In news releases, state Democratic officials have called their GOP counterparts "desperate" because Brown is giving speeches in the Granite State.

"It shows that they must be concerned," he said. In a jab at Shaheen, he said: "You know what's desperate is the fact that you have a senator who voted for Obamacare that's crushing businesses and has never hesitated to raise taxes.

"What's desperate is that Washington is broken and they want to make sure that people like me don't get back down there to solve problems," he said.

tbuckland@unionleader.com


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