Debates are never pretty, but the attacks between U.S. Senator Scott Brown and his challenger, Elizabeth Warren, have been more than ugly. The first debate on September 20, and the recent provocative video from Brown’s campaign staff, are showing the nation the battle’s only going to get worse – or will it?
Brown and Warren will go head-to-head at UMass Lowell’s Tsongas Center on Oct. 1 for the second of four debates. The fight for the Massachusetts U.S. Senate spot, moderated by Meet the Press host David Gregory, begins at 7 p.m. The Boston Herald reports it’s the hottest ticket in Massachusetts right now as over 18,000 people have requested tickets for the 4,500 seats in the arena. The Tsongas Center is opening up more seats for the event and giving tickets to those first on the mile-long waiting list.
There are two major things to watch for in this debate. The question is whether they will surface at the Tsongas Center or not.
First up is Brown’s attack on Warren’s ethnicity. It was a controversial topic in early summer and many thought the issue was old and buried. However, Brown chose to open with it at the first debate in Boston. Last Tuesday, a video posted online showed members of Brown’s campaign staff imitating “war whoops” and “tomahawk chops.” The actions were meant to be in mockery of Warren’s claim to have Cherokee heritage. Brown strongly and publicly disagrees, using Warren’s skin color as evidence. He also said Warren used this claim to label herself as a minority professor at Harvard University.
The Boston Globe reports Warren acknowledged the only evidence of having a Cherokee background is through “family stories.”
Due to the anger from Bill John Baker, principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, who demanded an apology from the Brown campaign, it is questionable whether Brown will use this tactic again at the second debate. The next night spokeswoman from the Brown campaign did issue an apologetic statement.
The second major point to look for is whether Warren replays the Republican card in a predominantly Democratic state. At the last debate, Warren said a vote for Brown is a Republican vote, resulting in a Republican senate majority. She explained if that were to happen, U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe, who denounces global warming, would become the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Brown responded by saying she’s running against him, not Senator Inhofe. However, Warren’s point was made.
In another Republican-attack comment, Warren linked Brown with Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, saying they are alike in the way that they care more about the rich and wealthy and less about women’s rights.
In between all these attacks, it is questionable whether Brown and Warren will actually convey their platforms in an understandable manner. Americans want to know what the two candidates will do to represent Massachusetts and better the country, should they get elected.
“I’d like to see [Brown] stop pretending the whole Native American thing is a big issue,” said Adam Wallis, a doctoral student at Boston University. “Maybe they can actually talk about something substantial.”