Black ministers endorse Warren
BOSTON — Black clergy members in the city are giving their blessing to Democrat Elizabeth Warren’s bid to unseat Republican Scott Brown in the state’s closely watched U.S. Senate race.
On Thursday, Warren received the endorsement of the ministers, who said when it comes to the challenges facing the state’s urban neighborhoods she’s the better candidate.
The Rev. Jeffrey Brown, a resident of the city’s Dorchester area and executive director of the Boston TenPoint Coalition, said the people in his neighborhood face challenges from high unemployment to the fear that spreads from shootings and other violence. He called Scott Brown, who’s no relation, a “nice guy” and said he’s helped out in a few situations but said Warren is more focused on making progress.
“We’ve had conversations with Scott Brown, and we’ve had conversations with Elizabeth Warren about that, and Elizabeth Warren seems to care about those issues and seems determined to do something about it, and that’s what I care about because those are my people,” the reverend said.
Warren said she welcomed the endorsement of the clergy, saying the campaign is “ultimately about what kind of a people we are and what kind of country we are going to build.”
“I believe that if we set ourselves to it, that we can build a better, stronger future for all of our children,” Warren said. “Not for some of our children, but for all of our children.”
Earlier Thursday, Brown received an award from the National Association of Manufacturing for his support of policies that benefit manufacturing. On Friday, Brown is set to win the endorsement of former Republican Gov. William Weld.
As the candidates head into their final month of campaigning, the race is heating up.
On Thursday, Gov. Deval Patrick, a Democrat and Warren supporter, called Brown “a Bay State birther” for running television ads focused on Warren’s claims of Native American heritage.
His comment, made during an interview on WCVB-TV, refers to people, called birthers, who maintain President Barack Obama was born in Kenya and is ineligible to be president despite the fact Hawaii officials have repeatedly verified his citizenship and courts have thrown out lawsuits challenging his citizenship.
Patrick, asked whether the Brown ads are a good political strategy, said he hoped not.
Brown’s ads suggest Warren used the claims of Native American heritage to get hired as a Harvard Law School professor, something she’s denied. In one of the 30-second ads, unidentified people say Warren “got caught in a lie” and “needs to come clean.”
Charles Fried, a member of the committee that reviewed Warren for the Harvard post, has said the question of her ancestry was never mentioned.
A Brown spokesman said it’s up to Warren to end the controversy.
“This is a problem of Elizabeth Warren’s own making, and the only reason it continues is because she refuses to release the records that would put it to rest,” Brown spokesman Colin Reed said. “All the available evidence suggests she is not being forthright with the people of Massachusetts.”
Warren has said she was told growing up that her mother was part Cherokee and part Delaware Indian, but she hasn’t offered any documentation of that heritage. She identified her race as “white” on an employment record at the University of Texas, where she worked from 1983 to 1987.
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, another Democrat and Warren supporter, said the ads are a sign of desperation for Brown, who won a 2010 special election to succeed the late Edward Kennedy, a Democrat.
“Elected officials take on those issues when they have nothing else to say,” said Menino, who also appeared at the clergy press conference.