Republican Sen. Scott Brown and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren brought their sharpened claws to the second debate last night.
Moderator David Gregory started the debate with a question about Warren's heritage. Warren claims to have Native American ancestry, but proof of that ancestry has not been presented.
"From the day I was born until my other died, she told me about who I am, who we are, who my brothers are," Warren said. "I have never used the information about our Native American heritage to get any benefit ... I consider myself as having a Native American background. That's what I said, and that's who I am."
Brown has attacked Warren as dishonest for the heritage issue in his latest round of TV ads. Recently, Brown staffers showed up at a Warren rally yelling Native American war chants, which generated anger from the Cherokee Nation and which was condemned by Brown himself.
But at the debate, Brown said the issue was about Warren's integrity and that Warren had "failed the test" of her integrity by changing her story about who knew about her heritage classification and when.
When asked, Brown couldn't produce any evidence that Warren has received any benefit for Native American heritage, but he called on her to be more open and release her personnel record from Harvard.
Warren wasn't the only one on defense.
Gregory brought up the infamous incident in which Brown mentioned on a radio show that he'd had "meetings with kings and queens." He didn't name which kings and queens and his staff later said he misspoke, but it turns out Brown had made this claim on multiple occasions before.
Brown denied exaggerating and stood by his point, if not his actual statements. He said he was listening to leaders around the world discuss the economy and was presenting a "scenario" of discussion.
"I never met the poorest farmer either, but it's about presenting a scenario where we can point out that there are serious issues affecting our jobs and the economy."
Warren also pressed Brown to produce a list of his legal clients; that opened a whole different can of worms involving Warren, asbestos and coal.
Brown cornered Warren on her work with Travelers Insurance in 2009. Travelers Insurance enlisted Warren in an agreement with victims in order to protect itself from future claims. Brown says that work goes against Warren's claims of being an advocate against corporate abuse.
But Warren insists her work was to make sure the victims were given what they were owed and that she helped oversee a settlement of hundreds of billions of dollars to go to the victims.
"For Senator Brown to say that my work hurt asbestos victims is just simply not only untrue, it is exactly the wrong direction," Warren asserted. "The asbestos victims have stood up and said, 'Senator Brown is wrong and he has crossed the line.'"
Brown also brought up a 1995 case in which Warren, a bankruptcy attorney at the time, represented LTV Steel as they were coming out of bankruptcy and petitioning not to pay into a fund for workers' benefits.
In another familiar theme, Brown discussed his bipartisan record in the Senate.
"I don't work for anybody, I don't work for President Obama or Mitt Romney or Senator McConnell," Brown said. "I work for the people of Massachusetts."
Brown spoke of various votes he cast in favor of Democratic bills in the Senate.
When asked about her record of bipartisanship, Warren cited a bipartisan commission she was on after the financial collapse of 2008 to address issues that had caused the collapse. She also said she would work with Republicans on reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The Boston Herald has the complete video of the debate.