US Senate Debate: Warren Attacks Brown's Record, Brown Touts Bipartisanship, Tsongas Praises Warren

The two candidates for the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts faced off in their first live debate on Thursday night.


Stark differences came out early and often between U.S. Senate candidates Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown in their first debate, with disagreements on everything from tax policy, to job creation to women's rights. 

Over and over during the Thursday debate, Warren chose to bring up Sen. Brown's voting record, and Brown chose to point out that Warren's plan would raise taxes on everyone and stifle job creation. 

"He has said he will defend the top 2 percent and the top 3 percent...and will hold the other 98 percent of families hostage," Warren said, referencing Brown's position against extending the Bush-era tax cuts unless it also contained cuts for the country's top earners. 

Brown countered by noting that Warren's policies would raise taxes on everyone, in fact, saying it's the "first thing she looks to do," he said. 

"And the criticism is that I don't want to raise taxes," he said. "Guilty as charged. I'm not going to raise taxes. I'm going to protect taxpayers' pocketbooks and wallets."

On the issue of jobs, Warren noted that Brown voted against three separate jobs bills during his tenure. But Brown fired back that she was "misrepresenting his record."

"That bill would have raised your taxes $450 billion, and it was a bipartisan rejection," he said. "They were rejected by both Democrats and Republicans for taking money out of hardworking businesses and giving it to the federal government."

Brown went on the offensive several times, referencing himself as the "second-most bi-partisan member of the senate."

"The only way we're going to get this done is to work together in a bipartisan manner," he said. "And only one of us in this room is going to get there."

But Warren said his voting record showed he aligned himself with the big corporations to protect loopholes for the wealthy.

"This is how Senator Brown has already voted," she said. "Senator Brown voted that tax payers would continue to subsidize them to the tune of billions of dollars a year, and I just think that's wrong. Billionaires are paying tax rates lower than their secretaries, and and he protects every one of those loopholes and would let taxes go up for our families."

Both candidates also touched on other issues during the course of the debate, including women's health rights, the cost of higher education, Warren's heritage, authorization for military activity overseas and climate change.

The Democratic candidate for Westford's congressional seat, incumbent Niki Tsongas (D-Lowell), saw the debate as a victory for Warren.

“Tonight’s debate sharpened the contrast between Elizabeth Warren and Senator Scott Brown. Elizabeth Warren will be a Senator that understands the challenges too many Massachusetts families face. She made a strong case that on issues that really matter, from tax fairness to equal pay for equal work, she's on the side of the middle class," said Tsongas. "She'll be a Senator that stands up to Big Oil and Wall Street, and puts people who are in too many cases struggling to find a good job and put food on their tables, first, all of the time. Tonight Elizabeth Warren exhibited the values and conviction that Massachusetts needs in the U.S. Senate."

You can watch the full debate online here

Who do you think won the debate? Which issues hit home the most? Which issues do you wish they addressed? Tell us in the comments. 

Vincent DiRico September 21, 2012 at 11:13 AM
Mrs Warren (Harvard's first woman professor of color) got "hammered" last night, what does she have to offer: - raise taxes (she knows how to spend your $ better than you do) - higher and higher tuition costs (to pad her families pockets; talk about a take a look at "how someone voted" moment or a "system is rigged" moment) - a far fetched conspiracy theory that the senate must be kept from R control Boy the liberals in this state have very little to offer!
Michelle September 21, 2012 at 03:50 PM
I was very disappointed with John Keller's moderation of the debate. Not once was Sen Brown allowed to have the last word. Ms Brown had the last word on every single question.
Vincent DiRico September 22, 2012 at 01:44 AM
I think JK did an OK job, I really don't recall Warren always getting the last word, but if she did she just served more whine with the cheese she is trying to sell.
Anne Shirley September 22, 2012 at 02:16 AM
I would have been more impressed by Elizabeth Warren in the debate if she didn't keep saying the same things over and over again.
Michelle September 22, 2012 at 02:22 AM
I meant to say "Ms Warren".


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