Mass. Senate debate full of friction

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October 2, 2012, 6:19 am
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(NECN: Eileen Curran) - The second debate in the Massachusetts Senate race was marked by some sharp exchanges and a battle over equal time.

Republican Sen. Scott Brown and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren debated before a crowd of more than 5,000 Monday night. As expected, Warren came under fire early for her claim of Native American heritage, a claim she stood by, but said this about how she dealt with that question.

“I wish I had been faster when answering the question, but the truth is the truth,” said Warren.

Perhaps not expected -- Brown being grilled about why he isn’t seen with GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Romney is not popular in the state. Moderator David Gregory asked Brown directly if he were distancing himself from Romney.

“He’s out campaigning across the country,” said Brown. “I’m here in Massachusetts, I’m running in Massachusetts.”

Warren had a gaffe when asked to name a Republican senator with whom she could work.

“I think probably Richard Lugar,” she said. Brown and Gregory were quick to point out Lugar is retiring.

One exchange in particular is getting a lot of play and can work either for or against Brown, depending on how voters see it.

Brown said to Warren at one point while they were clashing on the issue of jobs: "Excuse me, I'm not a student in your classroom, let me respond." 

His explanation following the debate, “She went on for like five minutes and I wanted to at least be able to go point-for-point,” said Brown. “But listen, it’s part of the way it is, it’s no big deal.”

Warren thought it was a big deal.  

“I was really amazed,” she said. “Go back and check the time in that first half.”

NECN did check the time each had during the first half hour. No one went five minutes and the longest answer was about half that. It appears Warren was correct. Brown had about three minutes more than she did.

Tags: debate, Scott Brown, politics, Elizabeth Warren, Eileen Curran, massachusetts senate race, massachusetts senate, campaign trail
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