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First Brown-Warren Debate: Who Came Out On Top?

Friday, September 21, 2012


Republican Senator Scott Brown came out swinging in his first debate with Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren.

In response to the opening question about the importance of character, Brown jumped at the opportunity to bring up Warren's claims of Native American heritage, questioning whether those claims gave her a leg up in professional career and calling on Warren and Harvard University to release the law professor's personnel records.

"When I was growing up these were the stories I knew about my heritage," Warren said, adding that the individuals who hired her did not learn of her Native American roots until long after.

Brown's Record

Warren had a chance to fire back at Brown on the next question, which concerned how each of the candidates would create jobs in Massachusetts once they took office.

The Democrat pointed to votes cast by her Republican opponent against three consecutive jobs bills in the Senate.

"We can put people back to work, we have work that needs to be done," she said.

Brown defended his position, noting that the bills would have raised taxes by upwards of $400 billion and that Senators on both sides of the aisle opposed the measures. He also attributed issues in the Commonwealth's job market to the regulatory and tax uncertainty many employers currently face.

Both candidates debated the veracity of each other's claims. Warren said the tax numbers Brown has bandied about were made up, and Brown accused her of misrepresenting his voting record.

Women's Issues

Women's issues have been a recurring topic in the Bay State Senate race, and they came up again in Thursday night's debate, the first of four between now and Election Day.

"I've been fighting for women's rights since I was six years old," said Brown, recalling how he protected his mother from abusive stepfathers as a child.

"I'm a moderate pro-choice Republican. I always have been."

However, Warren pointed to Brown's vote against a bill that would have guaranteed women equal pay for equal work and to his co-sponsorship of the Blunt amendment, which would have allowed employers and insurance companies to opt out of offering contraceptive coverage on the basis of moral objections.

"You should stop scaring women, professor," Brown said, and he went on to equate the amendment with the late Senator Ted Kennedy's work for a "conscience exception" for Catholic and other religious organizations.

"I'm not going to pit women against their church and their faith."

"I don't think that's what Senator Kennedy fought for," Warren replied in regard to the Blunt amendment's vague language of "moral objection."

Local vs. National

The topic of climate change, which both candidates said was an important issue to address, provided Warren with an opening to link the local Massachusetts race to the national political stakes this year.

"This race really may be for the control of the Senate," she said, adding that if the GOP wins a majority, Oklahoma's Jim Inhofe, who believes global warming is a hoax, would be in a position to affect the country's environmental policy.

"I just don't understand how we could go in that direction."

Brown pushed back against the Democrat's attempt to nationalize the race and reiterated his stance as an independent voice and the second-most bipartisan Senator in Washington.

"You're not running against Inhofe, you're running against me," he said.

Experts Weigh In

Robert Boatright, a professor of Political Science at Clark University, called the hour-long debate a narrow win for Warren.

"I think Brown likely scored a few points here but I think that the kitchen sink approach Brown used is likely to turn off more voters than it attracts," he said.

Aside from the Native American opening salvo, Brown made several other personal jabs at Warren, which may have been one too many.

"One personal attack might have been effective, but four or five of them make it look like Brown is desperate and is just grasping for anything that works," Boatright said.

Brown found success in the type of personal anecdotes that have built up his image as an easy-going everyman, while Warren still struggled in her attempts to connect with ordinary voters on a personal level.

"I think that if you ask them a few days from now what they remember, viewers are more likely to remember Warren’s broader claims about Brown and his voting record than they are to remember any of Brown’s various smaller allegations," Boatright said.

"Warren ultimately sounded like a more serious candidate." 


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Harvey Beehive

You can say all you want about how she looked and what she did. But in the end, her message is still a socialist one and she will lose.

Iron Mike Farquhar

And so, she said, so,...so,...so,...so,...

She remains an unpersuasive liar, again doubling down on the Cherokee trail of lies.

Her positions are distinctly Marxist/socialist,...she is another wealth re-distributor. She seems desperate to have power, - and that is a frightening specter.

Her comments about the military were laughable, she too is looking for 'Exit Strategies'.

What I watched was a RiNO debating a poor excuse even for a Harvard Professor. Sure glad I'm not paying to have my kid take classes from her!

Stephen Quist

lizzy warren gave the people of the Commomwealth 5 stock answers to whatever questions were posed regardless if they were on topic or not.
Some issues became clear like: Lizzy representing travellers Ins in denying healthcare claims to working men and woman the very people she "supposedly cares about" she made over $225,000 working AGAINST the very people she purports to support.........LIAR
lizzy warren also wants our children to have access to higher education but the costs are toO much for the average family....one reason? Professor warren is paid $350,000 to teach one class.....no wonder higher ed is so unaffordable with salaries like this its no wonder our children cannot afford college costs.......HYPOCRITE
lizzy never directly answered 1 of John K's questions.......thats what you get from a carpetbagger running on the advice of Harry Reid from Nevada.........

Christopher Horton

Scott Brown came out of the gate with an attack on Elizabeth Warren, who he endlessly addressed as Professor, for her family story about her Native American heritage, clearly appealing to the resentment the talk shows keep stoking about how "they" are getting advantages that "we", the "real Americans" don't get. After that opening I thought Warren shouldn't have conceded that Brown is a Nice Guy. Through the whole debate he stood there with a smirk on his face as she talked, planning his next "gotcha" no doubt. He's not a nice guy.

Christopher Horton

As for substance, Brown had nothing much to offer but conservative economic theory about how things ought to work, if we would just get out of the way and stop trying to interfere with the big banks and corporations and let them pursue their private interests. We've all seen how that works out. I admit Warren repeated the same five stock answers. That's apparently what they teach them all in campaigning school. But they were good substantive answers. We do need to get the money from the rich and the big corporations and spend it on putting people back to work. There is no other way forward, thank goodness we have a candidate who is not afraid to say so!

John Staruk

Higher government spending and more regulation never works. Government is inherently corrupt and inefficient (how's the Big Dig holding up, even though it was completed nine years late and 12 billion over budget as of 2006). The more power you give to the government the more politician's "friends" are rewarded and the greater potential influence of lobbyist. The less power and funding the government has, the less power special interest groups have to influence officials (elected and non).

Edward Saucier

Scotty tried: Harry Reid thought old "Slippery" was looking for an excuse to slip the debate by tussling over an amendment offered by Rand Paul that the Senate delayed on a short-term spending bill that is expected to pass. Harry said: “I’ve been to a few of these rodeos. It is obvious there is a big stall taking place. One of the senators who had a debate tonight doesn’t want to debate. Well, he can’t use the Senate as an excuse. There will be no more votes today.”

Atta boy Harry, give 'em hell!

Scotty doesn't have a good record on PolitiFact either, Pants ON Fire or False. But, it seems they haven't been keeping up with him that much. http://www.politifact.com/personalities/scott-brown/

Last night he started off with a lie about Liz checking off the minority box on her job applications. "She doesn't look indian to me." What a stupid thing to say. All the fact checkers claim she checked the box that said white, but Scotty doesn't care about facts. The rest of the "debate" was filled by more of Scott Brown lies, half truths and lies by omission, e.g. the time she worked on a Travelers Insurance asbestos case. If any of you clunkers want the real dope on what happened check out this URL http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/09/21/the-brown-warren-debate.print.html

I think Scotty looked scared and he should be, Liz is going to beat him. He also seemed to be pulling himself back from getting real nasty with Liz. She was getting to him talking about his lousy voting record. The boy couldn't even get himself to say the word Romney after Liz said she supported Obama. Isn't that interesting?

And for the dim bulb crowd who don't get it yet, Liz was right about the possibility of the republicans taking over both houses of congress and ruining the country. And they will because they have done it in the past every time they get complete control. And they get control because sometimes most of the people get stupid.

John Staruk


The article is entitled “Elizabeth Warren Acknowledges Listing Herself As Native American To Harvard, Penn”, and is taken from a statement she made to the Boston Globe in May. What bogus “fact checkers” are you citing?

Of course Brown is distancing himself from the GOP on a national level; anyone in his position would be an idiot not to. You don’t need to be Karl Rove to understand Massachusetts is a blue state. He’s a pro-choice, moderate Republican; not one of those neo-con, gun-toting wackos from the Deep South. Regardless of how hard Warren tries to attach him to it, it’s not true.

I’ve never seen anyone run less on their own merit than Warren. All she does is try to make this about partisan politics. I wonder if she (and many others) realizes that not everyone sides with their party’s platform 100% of the time. Voting against your party!?!? Shocking I know!!

Unfortunately, many voters in this state and others (same is true for blue and red states) are too lazy to do any research on a candidate and just vote for a particular party. I bet 1/3 of the voters in this state would vote for Idi Amin (without having any idea who he is) as long as he had a (D) after his name.

Everyone and their uncle blames partisan politics for the lack of getting stuff done in congress, but it’s never their parties fault! One of the most bi-partisan people in Washington and Warren acts like he has the same voting record as Lindsey Graham.

Kristin Mayo

The only way she could use her Native American ethnicity to get any kind of preference would be if she was a registered member of a recognized tribe. She made no such claim, so she got no preference.
This I read on the Washington Post by a woman who says she is a registered Indian.

Harvey Beehive

Ah yes. As Saucier points out, "the dim bulb" crowd just doesn't get it. Only HE and his other brain-constipated cohorts see and understand what's going on. Can he be any more pathetic? Hey Ed, Brown cleaned her clock and wiped the floor with her lying injun ass. Case closed.

Edward Saucier

Oh Harv, you're as nasty and dimwitted as your idol "Slippery." "Slippery" didn't call her a lyin injun....but I'll bet he was thinking it.

Edward Saucier

Geez, John Staruk, didn't you read your own article? Liz told them she was part Indian after they hired her. She didn't put it down on her application like Scott Brown said she did. He was lying. Check out my bogus fact checkers:

ABC News

Huffington Post

Brown is distancing himself from the GOP on the national level and would be an idiot not to, you say? John he is a US Senator, he is at the national level. If he wants to distance himself from his own party maybe he should switch to the Democratic party, if they would have him.

When a news reporter asked Scott Brown to respond to Liz Warrens statement that he supports the national Republican agenda he said: "I don't need Professor Warren talking or speaking or commenting on my votes."
Is that a statement from a smart man?

One think I will say for you is that you are consistently republican.

John Staruk

She says that she applied for the positions as white and she released applications from schools she was applying to indicating she put down white as her race. But if she did put white while applying for teaching positions at Penn and Harvard why won’t she just release the stupid applications? How difficult is that? And why did she deny putting anything down at first and then back track saying she wanted to meet people like her? What's that, white people who claim to be a minority? Sounds like a bunch of winners. And why would she list white as her race during the application process and then say she was Native American after she got the job? It seems pretty fishy to me. But she said it’s not true so phew! I guess we can take her word for it, because politicians never lie while they’re campaigning after all.

Either that or she decided she was white, got hired by Penn, and then decided she was a minority. Then she decided she wasn’t again, got hired by Harvard, and then decided she was again. How does that even come up? She goes to her dean and says “excuse me, I’ve changed my mind about being a minority. Again.”

As for the national level, I used a poor choice of words. What I meant by that is distancing himself from the neo-cons, very conservative voices, and Mitt Romney so as to highlight his independence. Brown wants to make this about the candidates, whereas Elizabeth Warren wants to make it about parties so she can ride Obama’s ticket. If Brown was a rank and file Republican, he wouldn’t stand a chance. He isn’t though, which is why he got elected (combined with Coakley’s total lack of a campaign) and why he’s got a very serious shot even with a tough presidential ticket over his head.

And again, you don’t see people, you see parties. Not every Democrat is Elizabeth Warren, and not every Republican is Lindsey Graham.

I voted for Kerry for both President and Senate, Patrick for Governor, and other Democrats at the various levels. I am a moderate, which is why I appreciate Scott Brown. But everything is seen through a particular perspective, and the center from yours may appear to be to the far right. Politics isn’t just red and blue; there are shades of purple as well.

Edward Saucier

Sorry John your comprehension is near zero. You've convinced me you just don't know what's happening in this dysfunctional congress.

You don't read the comments through and through, you just harp on Liz Warrens heritage. It's over and done with like Obama and his birth certificate.

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