Warren demands an apology from opponent in heritage controversy

Elizabeth Warren demanded an apology from Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) Thursday after she said the lawmaker suggested she should not have taken her parent's claims of Native American ancestry at face value.

At a campaign stop in Springfield, Mass., Thursday, Brown urged Warren "to tell the truth and answer the questions you guys are asking."

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"My mom and dad have told me a lot of things too, but it’s not accurate. You know, you have to, especially in these type of things, when you’re checking a box and you’re getting benefits that are entitled to people who need them and who historically have been discriminated upon, and you have others relying on those representations, it is a problem," Brown added.

That statement quickly drew fire from the Warren campaign, which issued a statement accusing Brown of attacking the Senate challenger's parents and arguing they should not be "fair game."

“Scott Brown’s comments about my parents are totally out of line. I resent him questioning their honesty. My mother and father are not here to defend themselves and should be off limits. Don and Pauline Herring are not fair game and Scott Brown should apologize," Warren said.

The Brown campaign quickly dismissed Warren's call for an apology Thursday afternoon.

“This is the second time Elizabeth Warren has made this pathetic and baseless accusation in an attempt to escape personal responsibility for spending five weeks misleading the press and the public. With so many new questions piling up, she would be wise to come clean, stop the stonewalling and tell the truth, rather than making up frivolous and false attacks against Scott Brown," said Brown spokesman Colin Reed.


Warren revealed to the Boston Globe on Wednesday that she told both Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania, where she previously taught, that she had Cherokee ancestry. Republicans have questioned that assertion, and Warren has not provided documentation that she has Native American ancestors aside from asserting repeatedly that her parents had told her as much.

“As I have confirmed before,” Warren said in the statement to the Globe, “I let people know about my Native American heritage in a national directory of law school personnel. At some point after I was hired by them, I also provided that information to the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard. My Native American heritage is part of who I am, I’m proud of it and I have been open about it.”

The spat should keep the story, a nagging embarrassment for the Warren campaign, in the news longer. In her statement to the Globe, Warren argued voters were not concerned about the issue, despite the deepening media attention to the issue.

"The people of Massachusetts are concerned about their jobs, the future for their kids, and the security of retirement. It’s past time we moved on to the important issues facing middle class families in Massachusetts," Warren said.


This post was updated at 4:22 p.m.