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In Massachusetts Brown, Warren release competing heritage ads (+videos)

The Senate race in Massachusetts has returned to an old theme, the question of challenger Elizabeth Warren's claim to Native American ancestry. Warren and Senator Scott Brown both released competing ads on the issue.

By Steve LeBlancAssociated Press / September 24, 2012


Republican US Sen. Scott Brown on Monday launched a new television ad highlighting Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren's claims of Native American heritage as Democrats faulted him for not doing more to reveal the occupations of his top donors.

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Brown's 30-second ad features clips of news reports on Warren's Native American claims, for which she has been unable to provide any proof. Brown's ad brought a prompt response from Warren, who in her own 30-second ad, released late Monday, said she was told as a child that her mother was part Cherokee and part Delaware Indian and that her parents had to elope because her father's family wasn't happy with her mother's heritage.

Warren, a Harvard Law School professor, had listed herself in law school directories as having Native American heritage, although she said she gained no advantage. She's also acknowledged telling officials at Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania that she had Native American heritage but said she offered that information only after she had been hired.

"I didn't check a box to go to college. I didn't check a box to go to law school. The only box I checked was in a directory," Warren said during an interview earlier Monday on WTKK-FM. "I didn't do this to get a job."

Records show Warren declined to apply for admission to Rutgers Law School under a minority student program and identified her race as "white" on an employment record at the University of Texas, where she worked from 1983 to 1987.

Brown, who won a 2010 special election to succeed the late Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy, has called onWarren to release her personnel records. Warren again declined on Monday, saying her background had no impact on her hiring.

Charles Fried, a member of the committee that reviewed Warren for the Harvard post, has said the question of her ancestry was never mentioned.

Democrats, in turn, faulted Brown on Monday for failing to identify the employers or occupations of a higher percentage of big money donors than Warren.

According to Federal Election Commission reports, more than 16 percent of donors to Brown's campaign did not identify where they worked or what they did for a living. The donors accounted for $2.1 million of the $13.1 million Brown collected in donations over $200.

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