By Shira Schoenberg
Monday morning, the campaign of Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown released a TV ad attacking Warren on the question of whether she used of her Native American heritage to benefit her career.
Asked about the ad at an event Monday morning, Warren declined to address it directly. But by the evening, the Warren campaign had shot back a response. In an ad featuring Warren talking directly to the camera, Warren offers a similar explanation to one she gave in Thursday’s night’s debate.
Warren says in the ad that as a kid, she never asked her parents for documentation of her heritage. “What kid would?” she asks. She says her parents eloped because father’s family didn’t like that her mother was part Cherokee and part Delaware. “Let me be clear,” Warren says. “I never asked for and never got any benefit because of my heritage. The people who hired me have all said they didn’t even know about it.” The ad concludes with Warren saying, “Scott Brown can continue attacking my family, but I’m going to continue fighting for yours.”
By Shira Schoenberg
After Democratic Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren released a TV ad attacking Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, Brown is fighting back with a negative ad of his own – focusing on Warren’s use of her Native American heritage.
The ad features a series of news clips from this summer when Warren was confronted with questions about whether she used her Native American heritage to advance her career. The ad concludes with a clip of Warren being asked whether anything else will come out about her. Her joking response, “I don’t think so, but who knows?”
Warren listed her herself as a minority in law directories, and Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania both listed her as Native American in diversity statistics. Warren has not provided documentation of her heritage, but has said it is part of her family lore.
One real issue is how the schools knew about her heritage if she didn't tell them. And in fact she's admitted telling them about it, so she's lying about not doing so. This knowledge may not have affected their decision to hire her, although that strains credulity. But it certainly raises more questions.
Another issue is why she claimed Native heritage for a while and then stopped. Claiming it in a cookbook is one thing, but in a professional capacity? Are we seriously supposed to believe she was just trying to meet other Natives? When she made no effort whatsoever to join Native groups or learn Native issues? Again, her explanation strains credulity.
For more on Elizabeth Warren, see Brown Confronts Warren About Heritage and Elizabeth Warren Ducks Native Delegates.