Elizabeth Warren and Senator Scott Brown released dueling ads on women’s issues Friday, another sign that both candidates believe that undecided women will be key swing voters in their closely fought Senate race.
Building on an attack line from the last US Senate debate, Warren, a Democrat, began the day Friday by releasing a new television ad slamming Brown’s voting record on three high-profile bills that affect women.
The GOP incumbent, in response, accused Warren of trying to scare women, and by late afternoon had released his own ad, featuring his wife, Gail Huff, disputing Warren’s claims.
The Warren ad uses interviews with unnamed women and a voiceover to criticize Brown on equal pay for women, abortion rights, and insurance coverage for birth control.
Though the names of the specific bills are not mentioned, the ad refers to three of Scott Brown’s votes:
• Brown twice opposed the Paycheck Fairness Act, which he has called an overreach and a burden on businesses.
• Brown opposed the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, then dean of Harvard Law School, saying at the time that Kagan lacked experience. Warren’s ad says Brown “had one chance to confirm a Supreme Court justice to uphold Roe v. Wade,” but voted no.
•Brown supported an amendment named for Senator Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, that would have enabled employers to deny their workers contraception coverage on religious or moral grounds. Brown has defended the vote as a matter of religious freedom.
“Scott Brown says he’s for women, but he is not,” says one of the women in Warren’s ad.
Brown’s advertisement, released hours later, features Huff, a former newscaster, seated on a couch as she defends her husband against Warren’s accusations.
“I want to talk to you about those untrue ads attacking my husband, Scott Brown,” Huff begins. “It’s sad that Elizabeth Warren and her supporters are avoiding the issues like jobs and the economy. I want to set the record straight. Scott Brown is prochoice. He supports women’s health care. And he is for good jobs with equal pay. Scott will fight for our families.”
The ad then pans to include the couple’s two daughters, Ayla and Arianna.
“Coming from a house full of women,” Huff adds, “he wouldn’t have it any other way.”
At a press event earlier Friday, Brown said Warren “needs to stop scaring women.”
“It’s funny, when you don’t agree 100 percent with Professor Warren on women’s issues, she basically attacks you,” he said. “She actually attacked Vice President Biden and said he was also antiwomen.”
Warren sharply criticized Biden, along with other prominent Democrats, in her 2003 book “The Two Income Trap.” She wrote that Biden sold out women by pushing a bankruptcy bill supported by the credit card and banking industries. Warren opposed the bill and said it would hurt single mothers and the poor.
Mark Arsenault can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.