Elizabeth Warren's Native American fiasco: Campaign killer?

The Democrat challenging Sen. Scott Brown admits for the first time that she did indeed tell her employer about her now-disputed Cherokee ancestry

Elizabeth Warren
(Image credit: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren, whose Senate-race rival accused her of exaggerating her Native American heritage to further her career as a "minority professor," conceded this week that she told employers Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania that she was part Cherokee. (Documents that were recently put forth by Warren's campaign "proving" she is 1/32nd Cherokee have since been disputed.) Warren says, however, that minority status played no role in her recruitment — an assertion two people involved in her hiring as a Harvard law professor confirmed to The Boston Globe. Nonetheless, Warren's Republican opponent, Sen. Scott Brown, says Warren's flimsy claims to Cherokee lineage call her "integrity and character" into question. Will Warren's latest statement put the controversy to rest, or doom her campaign?

This could sink Warren: Warren's hard-to-believe heritage claim could kill her Senate bid, says Michael Warren at The Weekly Standard. She's "the clear favorite of the Democratic establishment," but another candidate, immigration attorney Marisa DeFranco, argues that the controversy could be a disaster in November. If DeFranco can convince 15 percent of the delegates at the party's upcoming state convention, she'll force Warren to fight for her political life in a Sept. 6 primary.

"Warren didn't reveal Cherokee heritage to employers during hiring process"

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No way. Voters don't care about this non-issue: The only people who are worked up about Warren's family tree are rabid Scott Brown fans, says Joan McCarter at Daily Kos. In one poll, 69 percent of likely Massachusetts voters said the smear campaign questioning Warren's heritage is "not a significant story." On the issues that matter — such as who would be a better advocate for the middle class — voters prefer Warren. The fact that Brown is "harping" on this "non-story story that won't die" only shows that he's the one who should be worried.

"Elizabeth Warren unscathed by Scott Brown's smear attempt"

Either way, Warren handled this quite poorly: Warren has dealt with this flap "in all the wrong ways," says Rachel Weiner at The Washington Post. If she had just explained from the outset that Harvard and Penn listed her as a minority professor because she told them she was part Native American, people might have focused on the fact that numerous officials have confirmed that her ancestry wasn't what opened doors for her. Instead, she gave "confusing and inconsistent answers that only served to draw out the story."

"Elizabeth Warren admits she told schools she was Native American"

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