Brown doesn't 'condone' staffers' actions
September 25th, 2012
03:35 PM ET
2 years ago

Brown doesn't 'condone' staffers' actions

(CNN) - Republican Sen. Scott Brown, engaged in one of the nation's closest battles for U.S. Senate against Democrat Elizabeth Warren, said Tuesday he does not condone the offensive gestures and sounds some of his staffers made at a rally this week.

The Brown staffers were captured on video making "war whoops" and "tomahawk chops," an apparent reference to the controversy surrounding Warren's claim to Native American heritage during her time as a professor at Harvard Law School. Both Brown and Warren released television spots Monday on the topic.

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The staffers in the video were identified by CNN affiliate WCVB as deputy chief of staff Greg Casey and constituent service counsel Jack Richard. Other state Republican officials are also seen on the tape, which was taken by Democratic activists and posted to YouTube.

Asked about the tape Tuesday at a press availability at Boston's South Station, Brown said he hadn't seen the footage but did not support the actions as described by reporters.

"That's not something I condone. It's certainly something that if I am aware of it, I'll tell that member to never do it again," Brown said, before launching into an attack on Warren's claims to Native American heritage.

"The real issue here is, and the real offense, is the fact that Professor Warren checked the box. She said that she was white, and then she checked the box saying she was Native American and then she changed her profile in the law directory once she attained her tenure," Brown said. "That's quite offensive to Native Americans."

In May, Warren stirred controversy when she confirmed that she had described herself in faculty directories as having Native American heritage while teaching at Harvard Law School. She said she did so in order to meet others with similar backgrounds.

Opponents quickly seized on her comments, arguing she had tried to use minority status as a way to advance her career. The Crimson, Harvard's student newspaper, printed articles in the late '90s quoting law school administrators hailing Warren's Native American heritage as evidence of faculty diversity.

The New England Historic Genealogical Society provided CNN with initial research showing several members of Warren's maternal family claiming Cherokee heritage. The Native American link extends to Warren's great-great-great grandmother O.C. Sarah Smith, who is said to be described as Cherokee in an 1894 marriage license application. The genealogical society gathered that information through a 2006 family newsletter and said the original application cannot be located.

Monday, Brown's campaign released a television spot compiling newscasts reporting on Warren's claims. The ad, designed to cast doubt on Warren's trustworthiness, ends with a reporter asking Warren if there is anything that will "come out about you that we don't already know."

"I don't think so, but who knows," Warren responds.

Warren fired back in an ad of her own, saying Brown was attacking her family.

"As a kid, I never asked my mom for documentation when she talked about our Native American heritage," Warren says in the spot. "What kid would? But I knew my father's family didn't like that she was part Cherokee and part Delaware, so they had to elope."

"Let me be clear. I never asked for or never got any benefit because of my heritage," she continues, addressing the central concern that Brown has brought up on the campaign trail and at the candidates' first debate last week. "The people who hired me have all said they didn't even know about it."

CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.


Filed under: Elizabeth Warren • Massachusetts • Scott Brown • Senate
soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. truth hurts

    She's a liar just like most leftists. She'll do whatever she has to to spread her leftist lies and agenda. Come on Massachusetts, don't send this communist to the U.S. Senate. She is the LAST thing this country needs is another Obama mouthpiece in the Senate. Brown is a very reasonable guy. He's already proven his independence.

    September 25, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  2. Thurston Howell and Lovie Howell

    Disgusting and frat boys come to mind when I think of some republicans and Romney/Ryan are the frat leaders.

    September 25, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  3. ThinkAgain: Mittens' 47% ... Veterans, grandma and the disabled are all moochers!

    Scottie doesn't condone his staffers' actions, but doesn't have the stones to fire them ... what a desperate, whimpy little man he is ...

    September 25, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  4. cali girl

    The staffers are just following what you do, dear Scott dirt.

    September 25, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    And who gets blamed when the circus monkey throws its poop in a child's face? That's right: the trainer. Get your monkeys under control, jackhole.

    September 25, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    ""That's not something I condone. It's certainly something that if I am aware of it, I'll tell that member to never do it again,"

    "...I have repeatedly told my staff that it's ok to be racists...as long as we hide it well."

    September 25, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  7. sonny chapman

    Why is this an issue ? The lady is super smart &tough as nails. She didn't need any "help" getting where she's at. If this really bothers Repubs., why didn't they holler when George W. was shown to have gotten "Alumni Points" to get into Yale?

    September 25, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  8. sp

    So he should fire them. If you don't condone the behavior have the courage to make them pay for it. Leftists are liars? Paul Ryan voted biggest brown noser in high school has been forever tied to the lyin Ryan tag. Fact checking websites lists of lies by Romney. 616 lies in 33 weeks.

    September 25, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  9. incredulous

    Of course he condones it. He's been beating this dead horse for months because he doesn't have any solid achievements of his own to run on.

    September 25, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  10. ghostriter

    Sounds about right.

    Who are they to argue that she isn't native american? Is this one of those, "I can look at her and tell she isn't" kinda things?

    I swear, republicans swear they know everything. You can't tell them anything. Especially if you have facts to dispute them.

    September 25, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  11. Maxx

    Brownie's whole campaign is based on her belief she is Native American. Oh yeah, and hoping everyone in MA forgets he's a republican. Way to lead Scottie, so senatorial. Brown's history anyway, Obama is going to get close to 70% of the vote in MA (Romney's home state, ha ha), there won't be enough split tickets to elect Brown. Scottie, we hardly knew you.

    September 25, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  12. lolo

    Point in case this is how the GOP/TP'er's do it. They send out the dog whistles for their racist uneducated base, make the rich cringe and then turn-around the next day and back track, just like their nominee etch-a-sketch Romneyhood. As true voters will teach them a good lesson in November. Either you are for all of America or you will be voted out period. There is no way Mittens is getting into the white house period. No one is voting for the tax cheating, greedy, wimpy, lying, bully Mittens. He has shone what type of man he is which isn't very much. His character just sucks. He is nothing but a chameleon. This man does not even know himself so how do you expect him to run the country? He does not have a clue. He is definitely banking on the racist and senior votes for a win. I believe that he ants to make sure that Ann and the grownfive boys have the protection of the secret services for life when he bites the dust. I see no other reason why he is running for president, since he does not know a thing about running the government, except for getting tax payers dollars and shipping them overseas into Swiss accounts and taking advantage of the tax laws for himself.

    September 25, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  13. Seriously?

    What is really disgusting is that with all the important issues facing this country, we have to listen to claims and counter claims as to who checked what box on an appliction twenty years ago. If this is what Brown thinks we care about, then it's no wonder our country is in the toilet.

    September 25, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  14. Emma in Baltimore

    Couldn't she just get genetic testing to settle the matter?

    September 25, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  15. Peggy - TX

    Scott, these are your staffers. You picked them. They reflect badly on you. It is a stupid argument on your part and you it will not win you voters.

    She is NOT a liar. Look around Scott, see the olive colored tints in the skin tones around you. It is not just sun tan. A lot of folks claim American Indian ancestry, yet are registered in every meaningful way as “White.”

    You look so picture-perfect, extraordinary, presidential and she looks like a ordinary school teacher, but this is not a movie and when you both speak, you come across as trustworthy as used car salesmen and she sound like the women who will be our next President of the United States and leader of the free world

    September 25, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  16. Victoria

    Sonny Chapman: Have you even FOLLOWED this story? Clearly not. The Herald broke this story, followed by the Globe. She lied and said she was a minority to get an affirmative action job at Harvard. She REFUSES to release her personnel records on this matter... That's what the problem is.

    Do us all a favor and go back and read the news stories from April.

    September 25, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  17. Pander Bear

    If this is what he's pinning his reelection hopes on, he's toast.

    September 25, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "Why is this an issue ? The lady is super smart &tough as nails."

    You just answered your own question. Strong women like that terrify the little boys in the GOP.

    September 25, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  19. BLKMANinAmerica

    WOW, Ms. WARREN, it's ok repuks don't even like themselfs. Please do not let the repuks lack of education effect what you need to do they (repuks) are all very STUPID people CLEARLY.

    September 25, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  20. just sayin

    sorry Warren.... no more democrat liars needed in the senate. already too many of them there.

    September 25, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  21. don in albuquerque

    Totally disgusting. You cannot distance yourslef from your staff anymore then then the GOP can distance themselves from George W. Still blaming W. You Bet! Enjoy your time among the Mitt-Witts 47%.

    September 25, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  22. Victoria

    Also, Ms. WArren says she listed herself in legal directories as a minority so she could meet others like her. But the legal directories don't specify WHICH minority. So how would anyone who was a true Cherokee know how to find her?

    NUMEROUS NATiVE AMERICAN groups have tried to meet with Warren recently on this matter, and she refuses. If she so badly wanted to meet minorities like herself, why is she now refusing to meet people who have actual Cherokee blood? They're incensed by her false claims.

    IF she'd been smart, she'd have come clean months ago. But now the fire has been flamed.

    Sure wish some people here would actually do their homework and go back and read the stories from the Boston Herald and the Globe starting in May on this issue. would save us all a lot of time.

    September 25, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  23. Kwasi

    That is just a lame line of attack. She cannot dispute what her mom told her and again emphasis on issues. She made the disclosure after she was hired so she did not benefit for goodness sake. Is that the best Brown can do after trying to dodge the debate with senate procedure antics?

    September 25, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  24. Norm

    Republicans are so UGLY.
    The party of Christian Family Values......yeah...ok....

    September 25, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    "Do us all a favor and go back and read the news stories from April."

    I'm curious, Victoria. Are you voting for the tan can spray man, Mitt Romney?

    September 25, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
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