October 6, 2011

Via TPM:

Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) was interviewed on a local talk radio show Thursday morning. And he had an interesting response to a recent line from Democratic frontrunner Elizabeth Warren.

At a Democratic primary debate this week, Warren was asked how she paid for college — in contrast to Brown having posed nude for Cosmopolitan. “I kept my clothes on,” Warren replied. “I borrowed money.”

This morning, one of the hosts asked Brown: “Have you officially responded to Elizabeth Warren’s comment about how she didn’t take her clothes off?”

Brown began laughing lightheartedly, and gave his reply. “Thank God,” he said, with more laughter.

“Listen, bottom line is I didn’t go to Harvard. You know, I went to the school of hard knocks. And I did whatever I had to do to pay for school.” Brown continued. “And for people who know me, and know what I’ve been through — my mom and dad married and divorced four times each, and you know some real challenges growing up. You know, whatever.

Yeah, "whatever."

Blue Mass Group has a great round up of responses:

The Boston Channel WCVB-TV:

“Senator Brown saying ridiculously ignorant, rude, sexist, and false things? Weird, that never happens,” wrote Julia Leja, the finance director for the Massachusetts Democratic Party, on Twitter.


I’m just struck by how lazy this is. … Warren is older than Brown, and has grandchildren, so she’s a particularly bad target for a joke like this. Also, she’s attractive! She’s been profiled in Vogue, with a photo that showed off her trimness and bright blue eyes. It’s… just best to avoid this. … This lazy “elitism” attack has been central to the entire GOP campaign against Warren. Brown needs to do a lot better.

Mother Jones:

Brown’s comment might seem hilarious to your average bro, but elections aren’t won by bros alone. Attacking your female opponent for her looks won’t necessarily play well with women voters, and Brown can’t afford to lose much more ground than he already has: several polls have already shown Warren within striking distance of the incumbent. … American Banker‘s Rob Blackwell has suggested this may be Brown’s “Macaca moment”—referring to when then-Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) used the word “Macaca” to address a dark-skinned employee of his opponent, James Webb. (Allen lost.)

There’s a whole lot more out there: the locals (the Boston Globe, The Boston Channel WCVB-TV, the Boston Herald); the political (and other) blogs and forums (Politico, Huffington Post, Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire, Free Republic, Democratic Underground, The Hill, Talking Points Memo, Dan Savage/The Stranger, Gawker); the national and international press (Washington Post, ABC News, International Business Times, National Journal, The Atlantic).
I find this one hard to explain away with a line about “injecting levity,” Senator.

Brown makes a bad mistake which comes across as sexist and juvenile and may be his Macaca moment.
Republicans will try to paint Elizabeth Warren as some dowdy old liberal academic who has little experience in the real world. A brief look at her bio suggests this tactic will backfire. Via wikipedia:

Elizabeth Warren was born Elizabeth Herring in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the daughter of middle class parents Pauline and Donald Herring. When Warren was twelve, her father had a heart attack, which led to a pay cut, excessive medical bills, and eventually the loss of their car. Her mother went to work answering phones at Sears and Warren worked as a waitress. She graduated from Northwest Classen High School in 1966 and attended George Washington University on a scholarship, where she was on the debate team. At that time, most scholarships were athletic scholarships for men, and there were few women on the debate team. At 19, she married Jim Warren; they divorced in 1979. She graduated from the University of Houston in 1970 with a degree in speech pathology and audiology, and worked with children who had suffered brain injuries. Warren went on to study law at the Rutgers School of Law–Newark, where she served as an editor of the Rutgers Law Review, and was one of two female summer associates at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft's Wall Street office. She received her Juris Doctor in 1976. After law school, Warren worked from home, writing wills and doing real estate closings for walk-in clients.

I've included Warren's closing remarks at the debate where she mentions her own background.

Scott Brown may not have gone to Harvard (neither did Warren) but he did go to Tufts University and Boston College Law School, private institutions among the most expensive in the country (tuition is $42,000 a year now). Elizabeth Warren attended a public university on scholarship.

There is a big difference between the two candidates seeking a U.S. Senate seat in 2012 and it shouldn't take the voters of Massachusetts that long to decide which of the two is genuine and who is not.

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