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Elizabeth Warren admits she told schools she was Native American

at 09:17 AM ET, 05/31/2012

Late Wednesday night, Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren answered a question that has been dogging her for weeks, admitting that she told Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania that she was Native American.

Warren said she shared the information after she was hired and that it played no role in her recruitment. Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) has been pressuring Warren on her records.


Elizabeth Warren faces reporters during a May 2 news conference at Liberty Bay Credit Union headquarters. (Steven Senne - AP)
“At some point after I was hired by them, I ... provided that information to the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard,’’ she said in a statement to the Boston Globe. “My Native American heritage is part of who I am, I’m proud of it and I have been open about it.’’

Warren previously told reporters that she had not authorized Harvard to list her as a Native American professor. Her ancestry, she said, came out in informal conversations with other faculty. She said she was unaware of being listed as a minority until she read about it in the Boston Herald.

Asked about the story by reporters, Brown repeated his call for Warren to release her employment records and answer more questions. "I’m asking for the same things I’ve asked for from the beginning: for Elizabeth Warren to tell the truth and answer the questions you guys are asking," he said.

As for Warren’s Native American heritage, with the Democrat says she learned of from her mother, Brown said, “My mom and dad have told me a lot of things too, but they’re not always true,” he said.

Warren responded with a statement Brown’s “comments about my parents are totally out of line.” She added in an email to supporters that “Despite evidence to the contrary, Scott Brown also claims I got special breaks because of my background. That's not true.”

The Globe approached Warren about documents showing Harvard reported to the Department of Labor having a female Native American professor from 1992 to 1993 and from 1995 on, years the candidate worked at the school. During that period, Harvard was under pressure to hire more minorities.

A campaign official told the Globe that Warren had forgotten details about her past employment and was making this statement now because staffers had throroughly reviewed her records.

Again, Warren has approached this controversy in all the wrong ways, giving confusing and inconsistent answers that only served to draw out the story. While numerous officials have come forward to affirm that Warren’s ancestry was irrelevant in her hiring, her inability (until now) to explain why she was listed as a minority at all has made her appear to be less than forthright about her past..

A recent Suffolk University poll found the race a dead heat. Twenty-seven percent of likely voters considering the story significant, and among those voters Brown has a clear lead.

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