After sparring at a distance for almost a year through campaign events and advertising, the two candidates for US Senate in Massachusetts met face to face Thursday night. No attacks were spared in the hour long broadcast debate. WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports
Republican Incumbent US Senator Scott Brown questioned Democratic challenger’s Elizabeth Warren’s character, saying she had been dishonest in claiming to be of Native American heritage. He said the policies she advocates would result in a crushing jobs killing tax burden.
Warren aggressively attacked Brown’s voting record, accusing him of siding with oil companies and millionaires and billionaires. She questioned his commitment to women’s rights. And she reminded voters in the bluest of blue states that the outcome of the race in Massachusetts could determine which party controls the US Senate in January.
Warren criticized Brown for voting last fall against three jobs bills.
Brown said the jobs bills would have increased government spending and resulted in tax hikes on small businesses.
The two candidates stood behind podiums in the Boston studios of WBZ-TV with the station’s political analyst, Jon Keller , the moderator, standing between them. Brown and Warren maintained level, but aggressive tones as they argued back and forth.
Warren zeroed in on Brown’s recent statement that he would not support an extension of the current federal income tax rates unless it included the upper 2 percent of wage earners.
Brown’s assertion that he is a moderate pro-choice Republican, who supports women’s rights and who defended his mother from physical attacks drew a rebuke from Warren. She pointed out that Brown has been endorsed by the state’s leading anti-abortion organization and that he voted against an equal pay for equal work bill.
Early on in the debate Warren was challenged once again about her unsubstantiated claim to Native American heritage. Brown accused her of dishonesty by claiming minority status in faculty listings at Penn and Harvard. Warren said she gained no special treatment
Warren, who has been criticized by some in her own party for a campaign with overly generic themes, spoke of the national significance of the Senate race in Massachusetts.
Brown and Warren are scheduled to debate three more times before the end of October. One of the debates will be held October 10th in Springfield’s Symphony Hall. Recent polls show the race close, with most of the new polls giving Warren a slight lead among likely voters.