Brown Takes Warren 'Heritage' Issue National

By Sarah Birnbaum

June 15, 2012

BOSTON — Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown is stepping up personal attacks on his Democratic opponent. After leaving the issue mostly to surrogates, he appeared on national television twice the week of June 11 questioning Elizabeth Warren's claims of Native American ancestry.

On Fox & Friends on June 14, Brown said Warren has a credibility problem.

"When you’re running for elective office, especially high elective office, you have to pass a test. And the test is about truthfulness and credibility and honesty. And quite frankly she failed that test as evidenced by her claiming to be Native American and her checking the box and making misrepresentations to not only Harvard but Penn,” he said.

He said the same thing on CBS Network News on June 11.

Warren defended herself on MSNBC, asserting that she does have Native American heritage but she never used it to get a job or a raise.

“This is how I grew up, this is my family. I’m not backing off from my family. It became clear I didn’t get anything for law school applications or from college or for any of the jobs that I was hired for," she said.

Warren has gone through a slow wringer over whether she inappropriately identified herself as Native American in order to advance her academic career. And while a Suffolk University poll in May showed a majority of voters don't care about her heritage, some party leaders have expressed concern that Warren's handling of the situation shows the dangers of putting such an inexperienced campaigner in a high-profile race. 

For months, Brown's campaign staff has been calling reporters and bombarding them with press releases pushing the Native American story line. But the week of June 11 marks the first time he took the attacks national in network television interviews. 
So far, Brown hasn't run any attack ads about Warren's heritage. And an agreement he signed with Warren back earlier this year bans third-party PACs from doing the dirty work for him.?. But as the campaign gets more competitive in the following months, Brown might have to go even more on the offensive.

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