U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren said Thursday that the Wall Street protests were "independent" and "organic," conceding that she misspoke during an earlier interview in which she seemed to be taking credit for the movement.
"What I meant to say was I've been protesting Wall Street for a long time now," the Democrat said following a campaign appearance in the Boston suburb of Newton Thursday morning.
"The Occupy Wall Street movement is organic, it is independent, and that's how it should be," said Warren, a Harvard Law School professor and longtime consumer advocate.
In the earlier interview posted on The Daily Beast website, Warren said her work over the years provided the intellectual groundwork for the demonstrators.
"I created much of the intellectual foundation for what they do," she said in the interview. "I support for what they do."
Republicans sharply criticized the remark, pointing to the arrests of protesters in Boston and other sites.
Warren said demonstrators must obey all laws.
"Everyone has to follow the law. That's where we start all conversations," she said.
Warren's status as the Democrat most likely to take on Republican Sen. Scott Brown next November further solidified with the decision by another Democrat, Alan Khazei, to withdraw from the race. Khazei, the co-founder of the nonprofit City Year, made his announcement later on Thursday at his campaign headquarters in Boston, surrounded by family and supporters.
He said a "divisive" Democratic primary would only help Brown win re-election.
A spokesman said Wednesday the dynamics of the race changed when Warren entered and that Khazei no longer saw a path to victory
Khazei said Warren had clearly "`struck a chord" with voters, but stopped short of endorsing her.
Warren praised Khazei and said she was surprised by his departure, but added that it would not change her approach to the campaign.
Warren on Thursday received the endorsement of another former Democratic candidate, Newton Mayor Setti Warren, who also withdrew from the race after Elizabeth Warren entered.
A handful of lesser-known Democrats remain in the race, including state Rep. Thomas Conroy, D-Wayland, immigration attorney Marisa DeFranco and Herb Robinson, a software writer.
Asked if the potential absence of a competitive Democratic primary could weaken the party and leave her less prepared for the give-and-take of a campaign against Brown next fall, Elizabeth Warren said: "I think there are some bank CEOs who think I'm already pretty tough," a reference to her consumer advocacy.
This program aired on October 27, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.