Brown vs. Warren

The U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts is heating up and the fact that the gloves have come off between Republican Scott Brown and Democrat Elizabeth Warren isn’t a shocker.

What we are finding, however, more than a little curious is what Sen. Brown wants to make an issue at this point: Warren’s purported Native American heritage.

This avenue of attack has resurfaced in a couple of ways, first through a video recorded at a recent Brown rally where supporters of the incumbent senator, including state Republican Party officials, are doing the “tomahawk chop” and yelling war whoops. The intention was clearly to deride Warren and refocus attention on her identification of herself in law school directories as having Native American heritage.

While Brown didn’t have direct involvement with the rally, he nevertheless continues to make this an issue. In person and through a campaign ad, he has continued to call into question the authenticity of whether Warren has Cherokee and Delaware Indian blood running through her veins ... as well as whether she has used that fact to be hired for law school positions.

“The real offense is the fact that Professor Warren checked the box,” he says in an ad, and on the stump. “She said she was white, and then she checked the box to say she was Native American.”

The problem here is what Brown is saying isn’t true.

No proof exists that Warren “checked the box” so that her Native American heritage was a factor in her being hired at law schools, including Harvard. Nor is there any evidence that Warren’s heritage provided her with an unfair advantage when it came to job openings.

This non-issue continues to be a distraction from the real issues of what separates Brown and Warren and their individual approach to serving in the U.S. Senate for Massachusetts and the nation. It also raises the question of whether Brown is avoiding the real issues here because that’s not a direction he wishes to go.

As Warren says in one of her campaign ads, “Scott Brown can continue attacking my family, but I’m going to keep fighting for yours.”

Our advice to the two campaigns is to back off on the attack ads and red herring issues and address the real problems of the commonwealth and the nation.

We would like to think they’re listening.

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