The two candidates in the closely watched U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts had a combative debate Monday night. In their second face to face showdown, Republican incumbent Scott Brown and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren aggressively clashed on several issues. WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.
The two found very little common ground as they differed on issues including immigration and the war in Afghanistan. Brown repeated earlier attacks on Warren over her claims to Native American heritage and her legal work for large corporations. Warren zeroed in on Brown’s voting record accusing him of being in lock step with the Republicans obstructing President Obama’s economic agenda.
Their exchanges were testy at times.
The debate Monday night was held in the Tsongas Arena in Lowell with an audience of several thousand people. It was sponsored by UMass Lowell and the Boston Herald. David Gregory of NBC’s “ Meet The Press” was moderator and questioner. He and the candidates sat a table.
Both Brown and Warren had awkward moments. Brown’s came when he was asked who he considered an ideal Supreme Court Justice.
And Warren stumbled when pressed to identify a Republican Senator she could work cooperatively with.
With several recent polls showing the race close, Brown made appeals last night to who he called…” the independent voters of Massachusetts” He stressed a bi-partisan voting record and a willingness to work cooperatively to solve problems. Brown said he believed Massachusetts senior Senator, Democrat John Kerry, would make a good Secretary of State. And when pressed Brown offered only lukewarm support for the Republican’s candidate for president, Mitt Romney
Warren pointed out that Brown’s appeals to raise money in this very expensive senate race tie his re-election to Republican control of the senate.
Warren said she disagreed with President Obama on the war in Afghanistan and called for an immediate troop withdrawal. Brown said he supported the time table laid out by the President to end the war.
There was also sharp disagreement over immigration policy. Warren said she supported the “ Dream Act” which would give immigrants in college a path to citizenship. Brown called it a form of back door amnesty.
As in their first debate, questions were front and center about Warren’s undocumented claims to Native American heritage.
Brown also accused Warren of hypocrisy, for providing legal representation to corporations in a couple of cases involving worker’s injury claims. Warren, who has made the plight of the middle class a theme of her campaign said she had no regrets about defending important principles in bankruptcy law and she insisted no workers were harmed as direct result of what she did.
Brown and Warren have two more debates scheduled. The next one is next Wednesday, Oct 10th at Symphony Hall in Springfield.