BOSTON – The two candidates in the nations most high-profile Senate race met Thursday for their first debate – one in which Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., portrayed himself as an antidote to Washingtons crippling partisanship, and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren cast herself as a champion against monied interests.
Both were on the attack in a clash that underscored different strategies.
Warren, a Harvard Law School professor and first-time candidate, invoked national themes – that their race could determine whether the Senate remains in Democratic hands – and her desire to advance President Obamas agenda.
Brown, on the other hand, did not mention the name of Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who is seeking to replace Obama in the White House. Instead, he focused on his opponent, who he said is obsessed with raising taxes, charging that she would put taxpayer money in her piggy bank so she can take it to Washington.
Taxes were a major focus for both candidates: Brown said he would not raise them on anyone, while Warren contended that he was taking that stance to stave off higher levies on the wealthy.
Where Sen. Brown is always standing is right over there with the millionaires, with the billionaires, Warren said.
The two also sparred over a number of gender-related issues, including Browns vote against Elena Kagan as a Supreme Court justice and his opposition to legislation that would require employers to justify discrepancies between how much they pay their male workers and their female ones.
Brown said he voted against Kagan because he was concerned about her experience, not her gender, and that he had opposed the pay equity legislation because he feared it would be an early Christmas present for plaintiffs lawyers.
He cannot back off from how hes voted, Warren said. Women need someone they can count on not some of the time but all of the time.