In 2016 presidential race, echoes of Brown v. Warren

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BOSTON – Former Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) may have lost his 2012 race for re-election to Harvard Law School Professor Elizabeth Warren, but he is ready to take on Warren again – this year on the presidential campaign trail.

Although neither Brown nor Warren are running for president in this election cycle, the two former adversaries have emerged as powerful surrogates for their party’s respective 2016 presidential nominees — or, perhaps more accurately, as attack dogs against the opposing party’s candidates.

Brown (who now resides in New Hampshire and in 2014 lost another race for the U.S. Senate to N.H. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen) declared his support for Donald J. Trump early in the presidential race and has been a  campaign surrogate for the Trump for some time.  Brown’s name has even been mentioned as a possible Trump pick for vice president.

For her part, Sen. Warren was less than eager to endorse Hillary Clinton until it was clear that the former Secretary of State had sewn up the nomination.  But now that Clinton has secured the necessary delegates, Warren has jumped on the Clinton bandwagon.

Like Brown, Warren is often mentioned as a possible vice presidential pick.  Because she is politically to the left of Clinton, several pundits have suggested that the selection of Warren would mollify disgruntled supporters of Democratic Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Clinton’s presidential primary opponent. Since Warren met with Clinton on June 10, speculation about the Massachusetts senator’s vice presidential prospects has continued to grow.

Regardless of whether she gets the nod, there is no disputing that Warren has become a valuable Clinton asset and anti-Trump pit bull, frequently tweeting out attacks on the New York real estate mogul. And now it appears that Brown has been tapped as the Trump campaign’s anti-Warren pit bull.

In a reprise of one of his attacks on Warren during their 2012 Senate battle, Brown on Monday questioned Warren’s credibility, arguing that decades ago she disingenuously claimed to have Native American heritage in order to secure a law teaching position. Warren claims she heard about her heritage from family stories and that she listed herself as a minority during that time period in order to meet others with similar backgrounds.  At the time Republicans argued that the issue raised legitimate questions not only about Warren’s character and credibility, but also about her views on controversial affirmative action policies.

But, according to Lauren Dezenski of Politico, although polling data from 2012 indicated that 73 percent of Massachusetts registered voters were aware of the controversy, the vast majority — 69 percent — said it was not a big issue.

Nevertheless, the issue has once again reared its head, as Trump repeatedly responds to Warren’s attacks on him by referring to her as “Pocahontas.”

On Monday Brown escalated the feud, noting that Clinton “is considering making someone vice president who has very serious character flaws when it comes to honesty and credibility.”  Brown suggested that Warren should come clean about her ancestry, telling reporters, “she can take a DNA test.”