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Scott Brown launches ad about Elizabeth Warren’s Native American controversy

Senator Scott Brown is launching a television commercial about Elizabeth Warren’s undocumented claims of Native American heritage, the first advertisement in their US Senate race to attack a candidate in personal terms.

The 30-second spot, called “Who knows?” features television reporters talking about Warren “identifying herself as Native American to employers. ...Something genealogists said they have zero evidence of.”

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At the conclusion, a reporter asks Warren: “Is there anything else that’s going to come out about you that we don’t already know?”

The Democrat laughs in response. “You know, I don’t think so, but who knows.”

The ad comes after Brown, the Republican incumbent, has criticized Warren for taking a negative tone in the campaign. The ad bears some risk because Brown has built his popularity as a politician who is above destructive politics.

Although polls do not appear to show the controversy has had a defining effect on the race, the Brown campaign believes there are signs within surveys that show voters will be turned off to Warren if they learn more about the issue.

Warren was first to air a negative ad about Brown, but it was mild by comparison, and focused on policy differences rather than personal integrity.

Warren, a Harvard Law School professor, has said she believes she is part Native American based on family lore. But she has no documentation to support it.

She has listed herself as a minority in legal directories, and some institutions where she has worked as a law professor have listed her as Native American in official documents.

Faculty involved in her hiring have said her heritage was not a factor in offering her a job. Warren has declined to release personnel documents that might support her claims.

Noah Bierman can be reached at nbierman@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @noahbierman.
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