Warren Fails on Damage Control

Democrats Say Warren Badly Damaged Her Campaign

June 1, 2012

Democratic Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren sent out an email to supporters this week trying to explain the Native American controversy engulfing her campaign. According to the Boston Globe:

In an e-mail to supporters, Warren sought to explain why she couldn’t back up claims that she is a Native American with proof of ancestry—a federal requirement when universities report their diversity data—and tried to rally her base by characterizing the backlash as a Republican-fueled personal attack.

"What kid asks their grandparents for legal documentation to go along with their family stories?’’ Warren wrote. "But that’s not good enough for Scott Brown and the Republican Party. For several weeks now, they have orchestrated an attack against my family, my job qualifications, and my character.’’

Warren admitted Wednesday that she told the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Law School that she was a Native American—a claim with no documented basis in fact. Both schools touted Warren as a minority faculty member when she taught at the Ivy League law schools.

Democratic Massachusetts congressman Stephen Lynch says that Elizabeth Warren has "badly botched" her response to the Native American heritage controversy, and damaged her electoral chances in the process. According to the Hill:

"There has to be an answer for this at some point, something that's full and comprehensive and has some closure to it as opposed to the way it's been dragged out—like water torture," Lynch said late Thursday afternoon.

Asked if Warren and her campaign should put out all the information to put the story to bed, Lynch said, "they probably should have done that probably four weeks ago."

"I think you just need to get it out there, lay your cards out on the table and then you can move on," he said. "But feeding a little bit of information every week or so, that's just keeping it going and it's taken on a life of its own at this point. If they want it to go away they need to address it. They can't pretend it's not there which is the approach they've been taking thus far."

Warren refuses to debate her Democratic primary opponent Marisa DeFranco, and Democratic operatives believe the Native American issue is the reason she’s dodging. According to the Boston Herald:

"If I’m them, I’d take one or two [debates] just to show I wasn’t a chicken," Democratic operative Lou DiNatale said about the Warren campaign. "It’s an opportunity for her to demonstrate she’s got a grasp of the issues and she’s not afraid to debate anybody."

At a time when Warren has struggled to answer questions about her claims of Cherokee heritage, DiNatale said, "It begins to show a pattern that she may not be ready for prime time if in fact she can’t handle that. She may be a weaker than expected candidate."