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The main candidates in the tight U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts have released some of their recent tax returns. The short version: Sen. Scott Brown and his likely challenger Elizabeth Warren are both millionaires.
Brown made a campaign stop in Roslindale along with his wife Gail Huff on Friday, the same morning he released their joint tax returns for the past six years. The IRS forms show the couple’s income has taken off since Brown was elected two years ago.
In 2010, his first year in Washington, Brown and his wife made more than $800,000. Last year: more than $500,000. As he faced reporters in Roslindale, Brown made no apologies for his wealth.
"Sure, yeah, I got a book deal, everyone knows it," Brown said. "You guys covered it! I just had someone ask to sign it out there. I’m glad it’s out there! I hope people buy more! Bottom line is: Gail and I are a two-income family. We have been saving forever. People know that. I still have the truck."
The truck, along with Brown’s trademark barn jacket, is a symbol of the ‘everyman’ image that catapulted him to a historic political victory two years ago. In the four years before that, he and his wife earned between $294,000 and $357,000 per year.
That income came largely from their salaries and from rental properties in Boston. Brown said despite the boost in wealth since his surprise Senate win, he is still the same person fighting for the working man.
"The fact that we’ve been able to be blessed by good opportunities, and take advantage of those opportunities... like I said, I want everyone to have those opportunities," Brown said.
Although Brown does not want his likely Democratic challenger to have the same opportunity of winning and writing a bestseller about it like he did. Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren released four years of tax returns. They show she and her husband, Bruce Mann, made more than $600,000 last year. At a campaign stop in Dorchester, a reporter asked Warren if she’s part of the so-called “1 percent.”
"You know, today, as I’ve said, we have lived the American Dream, my husband and I," Warren said. "We have lived the American Dream and I’m delighted that we have lived the American Dream. I just want other kids to have that same opportunity."
Warren’s tax returns for 2009 and 2010 show joint household income of $980,000 and $954,000. And those numbers could bolster the Brown campaign’s efforts to portray Warren as a liberal elitist.
But his tax returns give Warren’s campaign the chance to fire back. State Democrats released a video Friday calling Brown a millionaire who owns multiple homes and stock in banks and oil companies. Warren said she’ll represent the middle class better than Brown.
"What I’m saying is: he votes with the millionaires and billionaires," Warren said.
Both candidates are wealthy. Both candidates tout their modest upbringings: the son of a welfare mom; the daughter of a maintenance man. Both say they will do a better job representing the common person in Congress.
And both also happen to be competing in a Senate race that is on its way to being the most expensive political race in Massachusetts history.
This program aired on April 27, 2012.
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