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

Tuesday, October 02, 2012


More than 4,500 people packed into the Tsongas Center at UMass-Lowell to watch Republican Senator Scott Brown and Democratic hopeful Elizabeth Warren square off in their second of four debates on Monday night.

The debate, a joint effort between UMass-Lowell and the Boston Herald, was moderated by David Gregory, host of NBC's Meet The Press, who wasted no time in pressing the candidates on the key conflicts in the highly-contested race.

Warren's Native American Heritage

As in the first debate, Warren's claims of Native American heritage were the first topic broached when she and Brown met on stage.

When asked by Gregory if she considers herself a minority, Warren responded, "I consider myself as having a Native American background."

Brown argued that Warren began self-reporting her Native American heritage in the 1980s only to abandon the practice later in her career.

"When she says she can't change who she is, she actually did it twice."

While Brown continued his recent calls for the release of Warren's personnel records, the Democrat took issue with being badgered over stories told to her by her parents as a child.

"To try to turn this into something bigger is just wrong," Warren said.

Legal Careers

Both Brown and Warren have made their careers as lawyers, and Gregory raised the question of whether or not serving as a legal advocate for a client necessitates advocating for the policy positions of that client.

"I think attorneys have a choice," said Brown, who has criticized Warren's work representing Travelers Insurance and LTV Steel in cases where the the interests of workers went up against corporations.

"From time to time, I have taken on a client. And I have done it because there was an important legal issue at stake," Warren said.

"I would do it again. Because what I was out there doing was trying to help protect the asbestos victims."

Bipartisanship in Washington

When asked why he has not had any campaign appearances with Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, choosing instead to feature President Barack Obama in one of his campaign ads, Brown said he took pride in his independence and his status as the second most bipartisan Senator in Washington.

"Of course I'm going to be proud to stand with our President," he said.

After offering the name of retiring Indiana Senator Richard Lugar as a Republican she would be willing to work across the aisle with, Warren recovered saying, "at the end of the day, the reason im in this race is not about partisanship, it's about working families."

Throughout the debate, Brown repeatedly referred to his opponent as "Professor Warren," at one point responding "I'm not a student in your classroom" when Warren attempted to interrupt him.

The Republican Senator seemed caught off guard by a question about who he thought was a model Supreme Court Justice before offering up the name of Antonin Scalia, then rattling off several other justices. Warren chose former Harvard colleague Elena Kagan.

Brown Takes Round Two

Stuart Freedman, professor and chair of the Management Department at UMass-Lowell's Manning School of Business, said Warren's ability to consistently inject sincerity into her statements during the debate helped her appear genuine and honest to voters during Monday night's debate.

Freedman took some issue with Brown's repeated use of the term "professor" as a means of distancing Warren from the electorate. However, the Republican's fallback stance of objective bipartisanship allows him to answer questions without staking out a position, allowing voters on either side of the aisle to identify with him.

"Because there were no surprises and no new ground was covered, it was the repetition of what we saw last time," said Morgan Marietta, assistant professor of Political Science at UMass-Lowell.

He noted the tremendous focus on Warren's character and pointed to Brown's professor trope, and the elitist and detached stereotype that goes along with it, as a tactic worth repeating.

"It's a fair cop," Marietta said.

"It is an effective way to communicate to the public that she's not like you."

In light of that fact, Marietta scored the debate as a win for Brown, saying that his constant attacks on Warren have put her in a position where she is responding more often than making her own claims.

"I think that being on the defensive works in a very negative way for a candidate," he said.

"She needs to attack back."

Whether or not Warren will be able to find enough ammunition to do so will be a key question in the final weeks of the race.

Students Weigh In

A number of UMass-Lowell's 16,400 students were in attendance for Monday night's debate, and several weighed in on both candidates performances afterward.

Corey Lanier, a junior Political Science and Criminal Justice major, said he liked Brown's down-to-earth answers to Gregory's sometimes aggressive questioning, and that the Senator was able to play offense more often than his opponent.

"To me it looked like she's always having to say something, always trying to make up for what Senator Brown said."

Junior Engineering student Usama Saadat came into the debate without a preference for either candidate, but left the Tsongas Center leaning more toward Warren.

"I felt that I got a more genuine sense of who Elizabeth Warren was from her than from what Scott Brown, but he definitely showed a little bit more skill in debating," he said.

However, Saadat would have liked to hear more concrete answers from both Brown and Warren, especially on issues facing college students today.

"I'm still not completely satisfied with either candidate's rhetoric," he said. "I would have preferred more discussion about how our generation is going to rebound from this recession that we're still trying to fight out of."

Jennifer Castano, a senior Criminal Justice and Homeland Security major, said she already knew she would support Warren and that Brown came off as somewhat evasive.

"He didn't really give a lot of clear answers to a lot of the questions that were asked," she said. "He was definitely trying to keep that independent view on things."

Junior Psychology student Kelcey Harper said that Warren may have missed a winning attack on Brown by not bringing up the Defense of Marriage Act when the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell was mentioned during the debate.

"I feel like that's one of the civil rights issues of our generation. As a college student, that's an issue that means a lot to me personally," she said.

"I feel like Scott Brown tiptoes around the issue because he knows that most of Massachusetts supports it. I think he knows that if he were to really address the issue, that could lose voters."


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Iron Mike Farquhar

Smirking David Gregory successfully baited Brown into a protracted 'attack' on Warren's lying. Warren successfully turned that into “Brown is attacking my mother”. Democrats ALWAYS need a VICTIM.

The voters lost. Our state interests lose.

Warren has mastered the art of turning 'Brown' into a three-syllable word.

Brown may be a decent guy, albeit a middle-of-the-roader, - but he'll find few supporters out where you mostly find yellow lines and dead skunks.

Warren's union backers were there in full force, and cued to voice their support for 'roads and bridges' [aka the code word for money-wasting federal union construction jobs].

So Brown admires Scalia [no-brainer] and Warren admires that other lying lawyer – Kagen. Gee, who'da guessed? The liberals groaned and booed the very mention of Scalia. Antonin, - you're my hero too!

Harvey Beehive

Judge Scalia may very well be the smartest man in America!

Stephen Quist

A wasted debate.
Unfortunately David Gregory became the story and the candidates were second headliners.
I was hoping to hear the candidates debate the issues and all I heard was Gregory interjecting himself time and time again not allowing either candidates to actually respond to questions/issues posed.
Hopefully the next debate the moderator will actually let the candidates answer questions and allow the audience/voters to make up their own minds

Stephen Quist

How can warren possibly claim she was helping asbestos victims by denying them their rightful healthcare claims who became ill on the job contracting asbestosis. She was the hired gun - hired by the largest insurance company in the land specifically to deny these men and women their rightful healthcare claims?
and she wants to be our US Senator?

Ron Motta

WHEN will TV coverage actually be "fair and balanced"? Specifically, when the Democratic candidate speaks, the camera is on that person. However, when the opponent begins to speak the camera is on him/her for a few seconds, and then goes to a "slit-screen" format,allowing that person to do the whole nine yards of eye-rolls; head-shaking; smirks; facial contortions, etc. This ends up allowing them additional "free" face time as well as providing their own editorial comment without any regulation or feedback from the other candidate. This pattern was very obvious last evening, and is fairly typical of media coverage and it's something that communications directors from BOTH sides should be aware of to provide an honest presentation to the viewers.

Ron Motta

Stephen Quist

Ron I agree with your observations - spot on

Edward Saucier

What a bunch of factless, clueless clunkers on this comment section, I dub thee "Brown's Clowns". And they are starting to rival the T&Gs; crew of ignoramuses.

Brown is still harping on Warrens Indian heritage because he has nothing better to talk about. Not the national debt., the economy, budget balancing, gun control, the wars we are in and the wars the neo-cons want to get us in? You know the real problems that go unchecked as far as the Natl. Debt goes.

Brown's still harping and misrepresenting Warrens part in the Travelers case. None of "Brown's Clowns" want to know the truth about that. Brown's still harping about the things he says he does but doesn't do, IF you check his record. Try to be honest for a change and it may work out better than all those lies etc. Seems to me Brown is sinking like an anchor.

For those who may want to know all the facts - GOOGLE - Elizabeth Warren was key in asbestos case - Boston.com That's a very long Globe article that explains that whole thing from start to finish. Actually it still isn't finished.

Of course that article would put a strain on the brain of many of you so I bet you don't bother to learn anything.

Edward Saucier

Hey Scotty, who's ya model Supreme Court Justice?

Antonin Scalia says Scotty.

Scotty says he's all for the rights of women. Hey, he lives with three of them.

Antonin Scalia, well he's the guy who said he was “adamantly opposed” to Roe v. Wade. Opposes equal protection for women. as well as their right to contraception.

So who's Scott Brown trying to kid? YOU the voter that's who. The right-wing corporatist have bought Scott Brown. Liz Warren is the best candidate money can't buy.

Informed voters know Scott Brown is a republican and republicans will never tell the truth. And it is true that some democrats are no better. The primary word being "some" democrats, not all democrats. Liz Warren falls in the not all democrats. Informed voters, the primary word being "informed," know Liz Warren is the best candidate money can't buy

I can't say that enough: Liz Warren is the best candidate money can't buy. Ain't that a catchy phrase.

Too bad all of "Brown's Clown's " can't say the same thing. Of course they can, but we will know they are lying.

Christopher Horton

Warren needs to let go of being nice and ladylike and come out swinging. Brown opened to door to brining up who their clients are with his attack on her for working for that mining company. His own record is very vulnerable, and she absolutely must go after him on it like a pit bull. We need to know we have a champion with teeth and guts. People are't about to elect her to lead them in battle with the bankers and billionaires unless they trust her to not wimp out on them in the middle of a fight.

Specifically, Brown worked for Fidelity National and First American, giant title insurance/mortgage servicing companies in the country, whose subsidiaries Lender Processing Services (LPS) and DocX LLC, which were at the heart of the mortgage fraud and robosigning scandals. She should ask him if he knew that he was getting folks to sign documents were being falsified wholesale, mishandled and fraudulently signed by clerks. Did he make a lot of money on loans he must have known were designed to fail? (See: creditslips.org/creditslips/2012/09/did-scott-brown-facilitate-predatory-loans.html)

When Scott talks about character, she needs to keep coming back to these questions, and push him hard. These are questions of character!

Lizzie, we need a leader. Time to take the gloves off!

Kristin Mayo

“ Professor Marietta scored the debate as a win for Brown, saying that his constant attacks on Warren have put her in a position where she is responding more often than making her own claims. “

In my opinion, the Professor, instead of claiming Brown the winner, should have pointed out how difficult it is to win a debate against a person who stands there and lies and lies. Scott ‘s constant lies put Elizabeth in a position where all she could do is respond, trying to correct the record. Then Scott started a garbled disinformation tirade, objecting to the truth she had just stated. When she, I imagine in frustration, tried to respond with the truth of what he was doing, he whipped up the line the had ready “ I am not a student in your class. ‘

In this way, he deflected attention from all his lies.

Harvey Beehive

Yup. Another conversation gets dragged down by that old stink bomb thrower, Saucier. As usual, he resorts to what all liberal moonbats do - name-calling and stupid comments which accurately display his ignorance. Saucier, I dub you king of all fools. April 1st is your special day. All hail the fool. Maybe he'll go away after Scotty whips the tar out of Injun Lizzy...

Kristin Mayo

This type of significant information does not come out in the debates. Why?

 Brown is Wall Street's favorite senator - they voted on it last year.

During the Dodd-Frank financial reform debate in early 2010, newly elected Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts was referred to as an ATM for the bankers -- meaning that whenever they needed some more cash, they would stop by his office. It was not paper money he was handing out, of course, it was something much more valuable -- rule changes that conferred a greater ability to take on reckless risk, damage consumers, and impose higher future costs on the taxpayer.

Mr. Brown had this ability because he represented the final vote needed to pass Dodd-Frank through the Senate. He could have asked for many things -- including greater consumer protection, a more thorough investigation into mortgage practices, and reforms that would have cleaned up unscrupulous lenders. He asked for none of those changes -- or anything else that would have made the financial system safer and fairer.

Simon Johnson: Scott Brown: ATM for the Big Banks
Scott Brown: ATM for the Big Banks.html

Edward Saucier

Kristin is right, swell comment. When the Dodd-Frank bill finally passed congress it did so with the "bi-partisan" support of Scott Brown. What a swell guy you say. Well let's get a little specific. In order to get 60 votes Barney Frank caved into the urging of Scott Brown to drop a $19 billion tax on hedge funds and big banks, like Fidelity Investments and State Street Bank,etc., which was meant to pay for the bill's provisions. Now taxpayers will pay for the regulation, since any TARP money unspent was supposed to go towards paying down the deficit. Hope all you "Brown's Clown's" won't mind a little more of your tax money going to pay the corporatists bills?

One source: $19 Billion Bank Fee Nixed: Will It Save Financial Reform? - Business - The Atlantic Wire

National Grid saw to it that a lot of people around where I live couldn't watch the 2nd debate. They turned the power off from approx. 18:40 'til 20:10. So all I know is what I read and saw on short TV blips after the fact..
Chris Horton seems to have done his homework, BRAVO! I thought I heard Scotty say he had his legal dealings in real estate cases. BUT never in those sub-prime loan mortgage fraud deals. I didn't believe him then just because I know republicans lie. Now I have other some factual intel to work on. Thanks Chris.

I see Harvey is still ragging on me for name calling while he continues to call me names. A man of substance he's not. And he didn't read that Globe article I put out for those like him. HA! Did I call that one right or what? If any of "Brown's Clown's " did read it, I have another long Globe article on the inner workings of LTV Steel - GOOGLE - Elizabeth Warren assisted mining company - Boston.com - Interesting stuff, and like the Travelers case, nothing like Scott Brown describes it. Isn't that strange?

Harvey Beehive

ED...I really think you've lost it. (Not that you had much to lose in the first place, however) HA!

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