The Ed Show | September 20, 2012
SCHULTZ: Senator Scott Brown tried to find a way out of his debate with Democratic opponent Elizabeth Warren tonight. But when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid canceled all Senate voting for the rest of the day, Brown had no excuse. The candidates met tonight in their first debate for Brown 's Senate seat. In his opening comments this evening, Brown took a pot shot at his opponent over her claims about her heritage.
SEN. SCOTT BROWN (R), MASSACHUSETTS : Professor Warren claimed that she was a Native American , a person of color. And as you can see, she's not. That being said, she checked the box. And she had an opportunity actually to make a decision throughout her career. When she applied to Penn and Harvard , she checked the box claiming she was a Native American . And you know, clearly she's not. That being said, I don't know, and neither do the viewers know whether, in fact, she got ahead as a result of that checking of the box. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), CANDIDATE FOR SENATE : When I was growing up, these are the stories I knew about my heritage. I believed my mother and my father and my aunts and my uncles. I never asked anybody for any documentation. I don't know any kid who did. But I know this about my parents, that my mother and dad loved each other very, very much. They wanted to get married. My father's family said no because my mother was part Delaware and part Cherokee . But, you know, I never used it, never used it for getting into college, never used it for getting into law school .
SCHULTZ: Senator Brown spent part of the week distancing himself from Mitt Romney 's comments about 47 percent of America . Brown is trying to strike a moderate image as a Republican senator in a very blue state . He stayed the course tonight by pointing out how similar he is to Elizabeth Warren on several issues.
BROWN: We're both pro choice. We both support Roe v. Wade. She's wrong. I'm going to make sure that Catholics are not pitted against their faith, number one. Number two, on the women's rights in terms of fair play , we have laws already on the books. Lilly Ledbetter , which is something I would have supported had I been there, is already in effect. We need to make sure it it's in effect even more.
SCHULTZ: Joining me now is Felix Arroyo , who is Boston City councilor at large. Felix , good to have you with us tonight.
FELIX ARROYO, BOSTON CITY COUNCIL AT-LARGE: Thanks for having me.
SCHULTZ: This really was Elizabeth Warren 's first big debate on the stage ever. Let's start with the big picture . Did anybody move the needle tonight? What do you think?
ARROYO: I think so, but the needle's been moving consistently in Elizabeth Warren 's favor from -- the last few polls that have been showing. I think you'll see that now. To me, she clearly won the debate. And she let middle class families, working class families know whose side she's on. Scott Brown , as much as he wants to tell us he's on the side of working class families, has a record that proves he's not.
SCHULTZ: How do you think she got by the answer about her ethnicity? Has this been a real major issue in Massachusetts ?
ARROYO: It's a major issue because Scott Brown can't let it go, because it's easier to talk about a fake story than talk about your real record . Yes, she said she's Native American . It's been said. Her family told her she was. Both my parents told me they were born in Puerto Rico . I have yet to ask them for their birth certificate to prove that. I understand why she did that. However, let's be clear, every employer who has commented on this has said they did not hire her because she was a Native American . Ed , I'll go even further. As a Puerto Rico , I am a person of color. For Scott Brown to suggest that it would be easier for a Native American or any person of color in this workforce because of the color of their skin and their heritage is insulting.
SCHULTZ: Are you surprised he brought that up? Would Massachusetts voters view that as somewhat of a cheap shot?
ARROYO: I'm hoping Massachusetts voters view it as a cheap shot. You ask me if I'm surprised that he brought that up. No, I'm not surprised he brought it up and I'm not surprised he ran away from his record . And I 'm not surprised he ran away from Mitt Romney .
SCHULTZ: OK. Well, Elizabeth Warren took Senator Brown to task on a number of issues. Here's an exchange on President Obama 's jobs bill.
WARREN: Senator brown last fall voted against three jobs bills in a row, jobs bills that would have put 22,000 people -- supported 22,000 jobs here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts , a jobs bill that would have prevented the layoffs of teachers, firefighters and police officers.
BROWN: Three jobs bills she refers to, with all due respect, would have raised your taxes 450 billion dollars.
SCHULTZ: Senator brown can't run away from his own votes. How is this going to play out?
ARROYO: I think it's playing out exactly as it should be. Elizabeth Warren is a first-time candidate. Many people didn't know her name. And we're talking today, she's leading in most major polls coming out of Massachusetts . It's as plain as it is. He is who it is. She's the fighter for the middle class . She's the fighter for working families . That's what her record is. He doesn't want to talk about his record . If I had his record , I wouldn't want to talk about my record , either.
SCHULTZ: There was also a lengthy exchange on taxes . Here's part of it.
BROWN: I'm not going to raise taxes . I'm going to protect the pocketbooks and wallets of everybody listening. If you want someone who's going to spend your tax dollars, give it to Professor Warren . She'll spend them.
WARREN: Senator has voted to let taxes go up on hardworking families . He has said he will defend the top two percent and top three percent so that they don't have to go back to the tax rates of the Clinton years. And he will hold the other 98 percent of families hostage.
SCHULTZ: How does this play out in Massachusetts ? Do you think that most residents in that state want to see the Bush tax cuts expire? It sounds to me like Scott Brown wants to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans .
ARROYO: He absolutely does. Scott Brown turned his back on 98 percent of the Americans with his position on taxes . Even Mitt Romney has only turned his back on 47 percent of us. It's -- to me, it's asinine that he would call her someone who is trying to raise taxes , when he's fighting as hard as he can, keeping middle class family's taxes up, so that he can have the two percent richest people in this country and richest people in the world, continue to have tax subsidies.
SCHULTZ: Where do you think this is going to go? She's surging in the polls. She's got the first lead that she's had in some time. Why do you think that's happening?
ARROYO: Because she's a genuine person . She is who she is. She believes in the struggle of the middle class . She knows it from her home life. This is what her expertise is in. When she goes to the United States Senate , because she will be the next senator from Massachusetts , she'll be fighting for middle class families, for working families . She understands the issues. And she understands that for this economy to be strong, we need a strong middle class . Scott Brown 's record has showed that he believes that you get a strong economy by making things easier for the top two percent of this country. Elizabeth Warren knows that's wrong. I think the voters in Massachusetts knows that's wrong.
ARROYO: Felix Arroyo , great to have you with us tonight. I appreciate your time so much, from Boston , Massachusetts , here on THE ED SHOW . That's THE ED SHOW. I'm Ed Schultz .