(CNN) - Democrat Elizabeth Warren, a longtime Harvard law professor, said in a podcast interview that she was courting "the hick vote" in her bid against Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown.
The comments came in jest when her interviewer, who grew up in Oklahoma and West Virginia, said he had often been called a hick and would "love" to see Warren, also from Oklahoma, take the seat.
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"I'm going for the hick vote here," Warren said, laughingly. "I just want you to know. Maybe we could start wearing stickers that say, 'Hicks for Elizabeth.' Could we do that?"
In the interview, posted Friday on the progressive blog "Left Ahead," Warren said she appeals to different groups of people because of her background growing up in the South, then working at Harvard.
"I think I'm a new category: The elite hick," Warren said.
The Massachusetts GOP jumped on the remarks, saying it's "telling" that Warren compared being from Oklahoma with being a "hick."
"She proves the point we have been making all along: Her two decades at Harvard have conditioned her to look down on everyone else as unrefined simpletons who need academic elites like her to show them the way," said party chairman Jennifer Nassour in a statement, adding that "Warren should apologize for her offensive remark."
But Warren's campaign said the comments were simply made in jest.
"Elizabeth gave a self deprecating answer when an interviewer said that like her, he was from Oklahoma and often called a hick," said Warren spokesman Kyle Sullivan on Tuesday. "It was a lighthearted moment in an otherwise serious conversation about Elizabeth's fight for middle class families."
Her remarks come a year after national Republicans took heat over running an ad during the West Virginia Senate battle that had a casting call for actors with a "'Hicky' Blue Collar look."
Known for her role as an adviser to President Barack Obama in helping develop the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Warren is leading in the polls to become the potential Democratic opponent to Brown in 2012.