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, whom 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 Senator Brown is always standing is right over there with the millionaires, with the billionaires,” Warren said.
The first six minutes of the hour-long debate, however, were dominated by a controversy that has dogged Warren — her claim that she is of Native American ancestry and the questions that Republicans have raised about whether that gave her an advantage in receiving prestigious faculty appointments.
“Character is important,” Brown said. “Professor Warren claimed she was a Native American, a person of color, and as you can see she is not.”
He again called upon her to release her personnel records and said: “I don’t know and neither do the viewers know whether she got ahead as a result of that checking of the box.”
Warren again insisted that her declared ancestry had nothing to do with her career advancement, adding: “What I really want this race to be about is about the issues, not about my family.”
The two also sparred over a number of gender-related issues, including Brown’s 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 and female workers.
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 he’s voted,” Warren said. “Women need someone they can count on, not some of the time, but all of the time.” That latter comment was one she repeated several times.
Brown, however, insisted that he has always been a champion of women and made numerous references to his wife and two daughters. “You should stop scaring women,” he said, more than once.
The debate, one of four that are scheduled, took place in a studio of WBZ-TV, the CBS affiliate in Boston, with no live audience. But hours before it began, hundreds of sign-waving supporters of both candidates lined the street outside.