That happened at last night's debate.
After Warren listed the instances in which Brown voted against Democratic-backed bills, a back-and-forth ensued, as the senator tried to respond with a defense of his record. His line brought him some boos. Brown is pitching himself as the likable candidate in this race. Lines like this one could cut against that image he has carefully crafted.That's WaPo's Sean Sullivan, spinning Brown's effective quip. Boos? I heard cheering. [ADDED: That is, a kind of "ooh!" that sounds to me like appreciation.] The worst thing to me about the clip, which you should watch for yourself, is that Brown lets it show that he's pleased that he got off the funny, telling alternative to "Let me finish" or "I didn't interrupt you, now, please don't interrupt me."
But let's talk about likeability. (Note: I prefer the spelling "likeable" to "likable," even when the candidate seems lickable.) Brown found a memorable, amusing way to cut off an interruption, which made him look good, at least to some people. The key is to look good specifically to those people who are not already strongly against him or for him. Now, the subtlety here is that the man cut off the woman, and he did it in a way that called attention to her position as a teacher, and that's a bit like calling her a schoolmarm, except that we know she's a Harvard law professor, and thus a powerful, elite sort of professor who exercises power in a setting that is traditionally male. She wields masculine power and presumes to control and channel the speech of less powerful males. That's the image of the law school classroom, as depicted — talk about memorable! — in the movie "The Paper Chase."
Now, nearly everyone watching that iconic scene — just linked — in "The Paper Chase," identifies with "Mr. Hart," the student, who resists the control of the imperious lawprof Prof. Kingsfield. And that's how Scott Brown positioned himself, making him a man of the people and her a member of the entitled elite.