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Warren ready for ‘nasty’ campaign against Brown

SPRINGFIELD - Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, trying to rally Democrats to her cause, said Saturday that questions about her Native American heritage have shown “how nasty” her campaign against Republican Scott Brown will be, but “I’m ready.”

Addressing several hundred at a labor breakfast preceding the annual Democratic State Convention, Warren proclaimed that unions had built the country but the Republican Party has aimed to tear it down with assaults on collective bargaining, the National Labor Relations Board, and other blue-collar protectors.

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“They want to turn us into a country that says, ‘I got mine, the rest of you are on your own,’” she said with the populist rhetoric that has made her the darling of liberal Democrats.

But Warren also acknowledged the elephant in the room: the Brown’s campaign’s accusation the she has used unsubstantiated claims of Native American heritage to unfairly advance in her academic career.

Warren has denied that, releasing statements from those who hired her at Harvard Law School and her previous workplaces that said heritage was not a factor in her recruitment.

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She acknowledged this past week, though, that she had told Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania of her Native American heritage, after previously saying she had no idea how Harvard came to claim her as such for faculty diversity purposes.

Political analysts have widely chastised the Warren campaign for its handling of the questions during the past five weeks. Brown has suggested it raises questions about her truthfulness.

“Right here, right now, in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, we are ready to make a stand,” Warren told the union crowd. “I know what this fight is going to be about. I know how tough it’s going to be. I’ve gotten a taste of just how nasty it’s going to get. And you know what? I’m ready. So all I need to know is, are you ready?”

She was greeted with hearty cheers.

Moments earlier, she told the crowd, “I know what we’re up against. This is going to be a tough race. There’s Scott Brown. There’s his Wall Street money. There’s his Big Oil money, and there’s his whole band of Republican buddies. They’ve got money. They’ve got connections. They’ve got lobbyists in Washington. But you know what? I’m not scared because I’ve got you.”

As Warren waited on the steps to take the stage, Secretary of State William F. Galvin attempted a joke about the controversy.

He mocked Brown’s claims of being a bipartisan senator, saying, “You know, you don’t have to be Native American to appreciate the fact that Scott Brown speaks with forked tongue.”

Glen Johnson can be reached at johnson@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.
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