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Sen. Brown staffers make 'war whoops' and 'tomahawk chops' at campaign rally

Staffers for Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) can be seen chanting Native American "war whoops" and making "tomahawk chops" during a rally for the senator last weekend, an incident that takes on added gravity as Brown attempts to make Democrat Elizabeth Warren's claimed Native American heritage an issue in their race.

The video, posted by self-described independent Massachusetts politics blog Blue Mass Group, was first reported by local news outlet WCVB, which confirmed that Brown's deputy chief of staff Greg Casey and constituent service counsel Jack Richard, as well as GOP operative Brad Garrett, can be seen in the video.

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It comes just a day after the Brown campaign released an ad targeting Warren's claims to Native American heritage, which have not been substantiated with independent evidence. The Brown campaign looks to be using the heritage issue as a focal point for a new, more aggressive strategy that aims to raise questions in voters' minds about Warren's character. Warren responded in kind, with an ad in which she defends her heritage claims as simply part of family lore and says she never used her background for personal gain.

But this new video could undermine one of Brown's greatest advantages — his likeability in the state. Massachusetts voters have consistently seen him as the more relatable candidate of the two, and his favorables remain high. An unflattering video like this, however, could complicate Brown's positive image.

Both campaigns did not respond to requests for comment. But Brown did tell WCVB that the staffers' actions were "something that I don't condone," although he pivoted focus back on Warren.

"It is certainly something that I don't condone," he said. "The real offense is that [Warren] said she was white and then checked the box saying she is Native American, and then she changed her profile in the law directory once she made her tenure."

Matt House, spokesman for the Massachusetts Democratic Party, said that this was "yet another sign" that Brown's campaign "is flailing and in trouble."

"Scott Brown and his staff are launching outrageous and offensive personal attacks to distract from the issues that matter. The behavior of his staff is completely inappropriate, but the tone of the campaign is set by the candidate," he said in a statement.

--This post was published at 11:26 a.m. and updated at 12:44 p.m.

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