U.S. Sen. Brown, Warren Spar In 3rd Debate

Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren speaks during a debate with Republican incumbent Sen. Scott Brown in Springfield Wednesday. (Elise Amendola/AP)

Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren speaks during a debate with Republican incumbent Sen. Scott Brown in Springfield Wednesday. (Elise Amendola/AP)

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown and his Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren talked almost entirely about policy during their third debate in Massachusetts’ closely-watched Senate race. Over 2,500 people packed Springfield’s Symphony Hall for the debate, the only one scheduled in western Massachusetts.

The issue of Warren’s claims of Native American heritage never came up, after dominating the two previous debates. And while both candidates had their moments, Brown may have delivered the most memorable remark of the night when Warren said America’s middle class has been hammered recently.

“When you’re talking about getting hammered, Professor Warren, I suggest you put down the hammer, because it’s your regulations and your policies that are going to be hurting,” Brown said. “[It's] your policies that are going to be hurting middle-class families and every class of family in Massachusetts and in the United States.”

Warren occasionally gave direct answers. For instance, which two programs she would never cut and which two she would:

“I would be clear in terms of cutting the agriculture subsidy programs, and it is time to cut in our military budget. We are winding out of one war, we have ended another one. We can realign our priorities,” Warren said. “On the other hand, I want to make clear: I will not go to Washington to cut Medicare or Social Security benefits.”

Brown dodged the question, but seized on Warren’s suggestion to cut the military budget and related it to the two air bases in western Massachusetts and the people who depend on jobs there.

“When you’re talking about cutting military spending, with all due respect, we’ve already cut a half a trillion dollars,” Brown said. “That affects Barnes and Westover and many people in this room and people watching.”

Brown continued to try and portray Warren as someone who would raise taxes. At one point, he cited a study from the National Federation of Independent Businesses that said Warren supports tax increases that would cost 17,000 jobs in Massachusetts. But Warren was ready with a comeback.

“This is a group that endorsed Sen. Brown and other Republicans,” Warren said, “and refers to Ted Kennedy as ‘public enemy number one.’ ”

Brown had his moment a little later in the debate, when Warren touted her work helping to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

“Listen, I commend you for your work on that,” Brown said. “I voted for it. It never would have passed if I was not the deciding vote on the financial reform.”

Throughout the debate, Brown emphasized his willingness to work with Democrats. It’s a strategy that has worked well for him. The latest WBUR poll finds that Brown does better among people who think it’s important that a senator compromises with the other party. Sixty percent of his supporters say this is “very important,” while 41 percent of Warren supporters say the same.

The same poll reveals that Warren does best among likely voters who care about which party will control the Senate. Seventy-one percent of her supporters say this is “very important,” while 54 percent of Brown supporters say the same. Warren spent much of the debate highlighting the times Brown has voted with his party.

With the two candidates locked in a tight race, the next and final debate is their last chance to change the dynamics.

This post was updated with the Morning Edition feature version.

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  • RotisD

    Scott Brown sure likes to brag …… and brag …… and …… a …

    • Joeyb123

       You like to blab……and blab……..and…….a….

  • dm13hof

    I’m still wondering where that list of clients is that Brown claimed he released a week before the last debate. Why does he lie so openly?

  • TonyG

    I’m tired of the “Dem said/Repub said” non-news analysis that Domke and Payne provide. And the two partisan analysts Sasha had on right after the debate last night were even worse. We get nothing but repeated partisan points; the Dem always liked the Dem better and the Repub liked the Repub. Nothing substantive or interesting comes of it.

  • J__o__h__n

    If Brown wants to cut the deficit without raising taxes, why didn’t he mention two specific things he would cut when he was asked that question instead of ducking it?

  • J__o__h__n

    Brown has shown that he can work with Democrats on legislation to get concessions from them in echange for his support of the bill.  If Brown is re-elected and the Senate turns Republican, how useful will Brown’s moderation be?  He failed to get the “legitimate rape” candidate to withdraw from the senate race.  His letter failed to change the Republican party platform that seeks to prevent rape victims from getting abortions. 

  • J__o__h__n

    “Warren occasionally gave direct answers.”  – State when she didn’t.

    • http://www.wbur.org/people/fthys Fred Thys


      I can’t think of a single instance when she did not give a direct answer. I meant, that, in general, she reverted to talking points, often repeating the same talking points practically verbatim, but at several points, she did give specifics answers to the questions posed, unlike Brown.

  • Travis

    What is wrong with WBUR reporters?! I mean my god. Brown had his ‘moment’ later in the debate? What you neglected to mention was that this was AFTER he had immediately criticized Warren for supporting additional regulations that ‘hurt’ businesses. Warren went on to talk about her help creating and support for the CFPB – to which Brown then responded that he was instrumental in passing! This bizarre  band-wagon-jumping, opportunistic hypocrisy was not lost on the Debate audience who literally laughed and booed at this ridiculous turn of events.

    Shame on you for not accurately reporting the context of what was said and when. But this is par for the course for the whole damn media and the debating system in general.

  • Norah Dooley

     Last night Scott Brown attacked Elizabeth Warren as a hypocrite because
    she complains about the high costs of college while being paid big bucks
    at Harvard.

    A quick look at data shows the outrageous costs of
    higher education are not related to any one person making six figures
    teaching at Harvard Law School. And a part-time, Harvard Law professor’s
    salary is still likely to be a cut in pay for any celebrity, corporate
    lawyer/ policy wonk who teaches at Harvard Law. Besides the small number
    Harvard Law School professors in the world means their pay scale is
    statistically insignificant in rising cost trend.

    University presidents ever rising seven figure salaries ? There’s a
    likely culprit.  Massive cuts in federal spending on higher education?
     How about what sports coaches get paid? Bringing up Warren’s salary was
    an effective but not particularly clever ploy to direct the public eye
    on higher education costs to a very ridiculous place.  A place all too
    many will be willing to go…When a cursory google shows ( USA Today)
     that the average salary of major-college head football coaches jumped
    55 percent over the last six seasons and that Ohio State’s football
    coach, would earn $4.4 million annually, not counting bonuses and

    Besides all that, since when is $350K= big bucks at Harvard Law School ?

    Scott Brown is a liar AND a hypocrite.

    http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/04/09/aaup-releases-faculty-salary-data#ixzz28zKDMiNn *


  • dwcorwin

    Scott Brown just plays sleazy-Republican word games when he talks
    about defending me – a small business owner – from “threats” like
    Obama Care and “job-cutting” tax hikes.  Like 99% of small
    business owners, my profits and staff size are way too low
    for either policy to pose any direct financial risk
    at all to me or to my small business success.

    As always, Brown defends instead the 1% of us who already pay
    dozens of workers, take home over $250,000 in annual S-corp
    profits, and statistically create very few new jobs. 
    Virtually all millionaires, these people like the giant banks and
    Wall St fund his sleazy word games as a reliable financial
    investment, paying ultimately for Senate votes that boost their
    wealth – at my cost and yours.

    Rich folks with similar agendas played puppet masters to
    Bush and other GOP legislators.  That deadly combination
    stole literally trillions of dollars from the rest of us via war
    profiteering, special interest tax cuts, massive new national
    debts & deregulation which Brown’s greedy banker buddies
    quickly used to get richer – while trashing our national economy
    en route.

    Scott Brown is a national poster boy for continuing
    further down all these same treacherous garden paths.  A vote
    for him – or for ANY Republican this November – endorses the idea
    that this massive theft-by-GOP-policy should be allowed to
    continue unimpeded for another decade or so – until the rich have
    finished sucking this country dry.

    Elizabeth Warren is part of the alternative, a political tigress
    with the legal smarts, proven effectiveness and moral
    courage to push back and help restore fiscal sanity
    and safety for our 99%, and for the USA as a whole.  Brown
    out; Warren in – let’s make it reality.

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