Brown, Warren Spar In 2nd Debate For U.S. Senate Seat

U.S. Sen. Scott Brown answers a question during a debate against challenger Elizabeth Warren Monday at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Facing the candidates is moderator David Gregory. (AP/The Boston Herald, Pool)

U.S. Sen. Scott Brown answers a question during a debate against challenger Elizabeth Warren Monday at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Facing the candidates is moderator David Gregory. (AP/The Boston Herald, Pool)

BOSTON — U.S. Sen. Scott Brown and his Democratic rival, Elizabeth Warren, debated Monday night at the University of Massachusetts Lowell in front of an audience of thousands. It was an hour of parrying, jabs of humor and testiness.

In their first debate two weeks ago, Brown attacked out of the gate and Warren held her own. This second debate began as the last, with seven minutes about Warren’s American Indian heritage. But she moved on and demonstrated humor. For instance, when moderator David Gregory, of NBC, asked her if it troubles her that Massachusetts has never elected a woman to the Senate, Warren said, “Well, right now, I’m trying to do something about that.”

Warren learned to needle Brown and to do it with a light touch. For instance, here’s the challenger when Brown said he had released a list of his law clients:

I haven’t seen a list of Sen. Brown’s clients. All I know is that Sen. Brown said at a press conference last week that somehow, over the last 25 years, while he’s been out there working in the public interest and representing people here in Massachusetts, that he also was representing banks and mortgage companies, but I haven’t seen a list of those clients and I didn’t realize that it had been made public. Is that right, that there is a public list now of all the clients Sen. Brown had and the work he did for them?

Brown has not released a list of his clients. Just before the debate, Warren did release a list of 13 cases on which she worked from 1995 to 2009. Here’s Brown:

Professor, with all due respect, the only person that’s required to provide a list is you, when you actually have to provide it on a yearly basis to Harvard, and when asked if there was in fact a list, you said no, there is no list. Well, we find out that there is in fact a list, and apparently, she’s released it tonight. I made it very clear last week. People know that I am real estate attorney. I have an office in my home. I represent a couple of small cooperative banks.

Brown came back to a line of questioning he used in the first debate: He brought up Warren’s representation of Travelers Insurance Co. in a case in which Warren was seeking to establish a trust fund for victims of asbestos contamination.

“And if I had the chance, I would do it again,” Warren said.

“Travelers Insurance Co. is not going to pay a quarter of a million dollars to Professor Warren to be a hired gun to work for the victims,” Brown replied. “So that’s laughable, let’s get that right out.”

“This was insurance company versus insurance company,” Warren retorted. “Two insurance companies were fighting in the United States Supreme Court. If one of them won, then the asbestos victims would have a chance to get another half billion dollars in payments, and there would be a device to pay them over time.”

Warren returned to a line of indictment she used in the first debate: Brown’s voting record in the Senate. She presented it as one of repeatedly voting against initiatives she argues would have created jobs or helped the unemployed.

“If you’re going to comment on my record, I would at least have you refer to it,” Brown said.

Warren tried to interject.

“Excuse me, I’m not a student in your classroom, please let me respond, OK?” Brown told her, drawing groans, whistles and cheers from the audience. “With regard to the jobs bills, they were rejected in a bipartisan manner.”

To show how bipartisan he is, Brown made a surprising announcement when asked if he would vote for Sen. Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, to lead Senate Republicans again. Brown said he is undecided.

As in their first debate, Warren seemed the more comfortable, the more poised, the more confident.

The two formidable candidates are locked in a tight race. There’s two more debates to go.

This post was updated with the Morning Edition feature version.

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  • RotisD

    I’m one white male among many in Massachusetts who will not be voting for the self-congratulating, self-proclaiming ‘one of us’ Brown.

    I’ve never seen someone in my neck of the woods here in Southeastern Massachusetts who is so disrepectful towards women, toward minorities, towards educators as that of my next-town-over neighbor and fellow veteran Mr. Scott Brown.

    Speaking of serve, come Nov 6, some pie will be served to Brown by the people of Massachusetts, but it’s doubtful he will like the type –

    – humble.

    • Sallyhaynes

      The only one being disrespectful is you.

      • JustThink

        There was no disrpect in RotisD’s statment. 

      • CL38

        No disrespect here, except from Brown.  Pointing out someone’s behavior in a debate is NOT disrespectful.  That’s what thinking people do–evaluate.

  • Wfaquin

    Brown was called on his hypocritical ads hiding his allegiance to Romney and the Republicans.

  • Jkriegel8

    Brown is trying to undermine Elisabeth Warren by mountain allegations for which he has no proof and no facts. He drives around in a car and visits so called “nice people” but he has no answers to questions, repeats his “I am the only Senator who is independent” but when it comes to voting he votes Republican. The top is that his favored Judge is the most right wing on the bench. He has shown that he is not independent, a weak candidate with no real answers and insulting to Women. No Mr. Brown on Voting Day. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kathy-Wnuk/100000450245663 Kathy Wnuk

    It appeared to me that Brown was trying to prove his bipartisanship (and he is bipartisan – was one of 5 Republicans who voted for the most recent Vet bill) while Warren was trying to paint him as a person “in lock step” with the Republicans. She claimed she’d work with anyone…yet was unable to point out instances where she worked with someone not of the Democratic party.

    It also seemed to me that the moderator was quite quick to interrupt Brown and not let him respond, but was not the same way with Warren.

    Most people already know who they are going to vote for. Remember that independents outnumber Democrats in MA 2 to 1.

    • Justthink

      What a ridiculous statement.  Brown is a Senator and working in the Senate – she is not.  Therefore the question was moot to begin with.  Outside of that, she clearly said it would depend on the issue at hand whether she would work with or not work with a republican.  Further, two of the four senators he said he would work with are not only republican, they are leaving…did no one catch that?

      The moderator was all around disruptive to both persons.  I thought the moderating style was fair to neither party.

      Independents, as I am one, I believe, will not get caught up in the one liners.  For example, Warren as an unqualified candidate for her Harvard position being painted, but when cornered, Brown does his quick lawyer talk answering nothing.  Integrity?  I think taking clothes off to make money is of less integrity than just about anything I can think of.  If Warren is not standing up to something she is not standing up and asking the question that needs so desperately to be asked of Scott Brown:  Would it make him feel she is of more integrity if she HAD listed herself as Native American when she applied for the job? 

      I personally think that she shows she is a woman of integrity.

      I’m sorry, but the idea that Scott Brown is anything other than Republican is false.  When push comes to shove he voted party line – but don’t listen to me, look up his voting record.

  • http://twitter.com/devbost Devin

    Brown’s voting record is more appropriate for a senator who represents Kansas. What he won’t tell you is that in the current partisan atmosphere, being the 2nd most bipartisan member of the Senate still means that he votes with Mitch McConnell over 70% of the time. The nice-guy, middle-of-the-road veneer he’s worked to create is a sales job, which is why he bristles when Warren talks about the specifics of his voting record, and it explains why he’s choosing to talk about the non-issue of Warren’s heritage rather than about the votes he’s cast as our Senator. Warren is using the debates to hold him accountable for the votes he’s cast, and he doesn’t like it. Considering how out-of-step he is with the voters he’s representing, I can’t say I blame him.

  • J__o__h__n

    “To show how bipartisan he is, Brown made a surprising announcement when asked if he would vote for Sen. Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, to lead Senate Republicans again. Brown said he is undecided.” — This was such a false claim that Brown should have said “read my lips” first.

  • Holly

    I’ll believe Brown is truly bipartisan when he attends  fundraisers for Democratic candidates as for Republicans. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1550427523 Akilez Stamatelaky

    Senator Brown is using bipartisan during elections but when it is time  to vote. he votes like a Republican. A typical Republican that wants to destroy his opponent just last night he showed us.

    The American Jobs Act was a bill to create jobs in America. Yes it was also rejected by some Democrats but not the majority.

    I don’t see any accomplishments of Senator Brown in Massachusetts.  I only see the accomplishments of Governor Patrick.

  • CL38

    I truly hope I see my comment here.  Otherwise I will assume that BUR is erasing comments that are critical.  

  • CL38

    Where is the comment I posted about WBUR and the Gregory handling of the Brown/Warren debate?

  • Paola Sebastiani

    Brown showed that he is very political and a swing politician just as Romney. He could not even take a position about Bob Valentine and the Red Sox!

  • Birddog2012

    One thing I do not see much mention about in either the article or in this forum was the disparaging and amiturish behavior of the debate moderator, NBC’s David Gregory.  I felt like the moderator largely acted as if the debate was about him.  Gregory  seemed condencending and aggressive when asked to allow for a rebuttal by Ms. Warren on at least two occassions and seemed continuosly to have fed Scot Brown wiffle ball questions, while saving his hard ball questions for Ms Warren. 
    Now I know the UMass audience expected a lively debate and the moderator works for a major media giant but I felt as if we were treated to a high school debate moderated by a soon retiring speech teacher who was trying to make a point on how two fledging debators ought to approch their subjects….Too bad for the two candidates and too bad for the viewers and voting public….

  • Phil_Olenick

    In last night’s debate, after Warren answered the first student question about being able to get a job with a jobs program that Brown voted against, Brown’s answer was  “crowdfunding” via something called “WeFunder” at the website of the Cambridge Innovation Center. Well, I went to that site and there’s nothing by that name or description there.

    However, “crowdfunding” does exist – its most well-known manifestation is “kickstarter.”

    So while Romney says “borrow from your parents,” Brown says “beg from your friends” – God forbid the the rich should pay anything extra to the government in taxes so that the government can put money into a jobs program.

    • eve hunter

      if we destroy the rich the middle class is next.   i am confused…if the government  takes 10 percent of my money in taxes and 10 percent of the richs’  money in taxes will the rich not be paying more since they have more?   the government does not produce anything they just tax  you.

  • CL38

    I posted a comment several hours ago that criticized WBUR’s above article as pretty lame.  It was removed so I’ll post what I said, again.

    I’ve been a WBUR listener for decades, but have no respect for the way they’ve changed their political commentary policy.  WBUR now goes out of its way to be “fair & balanced” as the Republicans define this — that is, repeating Republican lies as truthful statements in response to legitimate criticism from Democrats.  The above article is not a fair or accurate description of what went on at the Warren/Brown debate.

    “Fifty years ago, every male American was entitled to what the sociologist R. W. Connell called a “patriarchal dividend” — a lifelong affirmative-action program for men.” (The Myth of Male Decline by Stephanie Cootnz).Two privileged, entitled white men who’ve greatly benefited from this lifelong affirmative action program, spent almost ten minutes, yet again last night, attacking Warren for the false assertion that, as a Native American, she may have received affirmative action assistance. The Boston Globe researched this issue in Warren’s favor, but, I ask, SO WHAT if she had received affirmative action assistance???I can’t believe the shameful hypocrisy (and lack of personal insight) of men like Brown and Gregory who take their entitlement and privilege so much for granted they fail to acknowledge it. They BOTH bullied an accomplished woman who dared to question the banking industry and Wall Street scams, by attacking her achievements as a teacher, attorney and advocate. They treated her with disparagement and disrespect. 

    Elizabeth is the far better-qualified candidate for the Senate. And by the way, Scott Brown, is not, and never will be a “nice guy”.I’ve come to believe that not much will change for women and families until we have equal representation in the House, Senate and White House.I’ll be voting for Elizabeth Warren.

    • Marybeth

      You have the audacity to call others disrespectful? Try looking in the mirror. You’re confusing your small, “entitled” opinions as facts. You should acknowledge it.

      • CL38

        I have as much a right to my opinion as you do yours.  

        My opinion was not disrespectful, but WAS critical of WBUR’s lame assessment and both Brown and Gregory’s handling of the debate.
        Too bad if you don’t like it.

  • eve hunter

    it’s a matter of gut trust.  warren doesn’t make it with me.  cherokee indian my  butt.

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