Elizabeth Warren’s Dodgy Weekend

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2018/03/12/elizabeth-warrens-dodgy-weekend/

 

Massachusetts U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren dodged questions about a Native American ancestry test and insisted she has no Oval Office plans for 2020 during a whirlwind interview tour spread out across several major cable news networks Sunday.

The first inkling of Warren’s media barrage surfaced Saturday, when a transcript of the Cambridge Democrat’s interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd of Meet the Press hit journalists’ inboxes. The interview saw Todd press Warren, who is up for re-election in November, with questions about her self-professed Native American ethnicity, fund-raising ability, and White House aspirations.

Asked bluntly if she would pledge to serve out her full six-year term if re-elected to the Senate, Warren issued a dodgy response:

“So look, I am not running for president of the United States. I am running for the United States Senate. 2018. Massachusetts. Whoohoo. But let me actually make a — underline a point on this one, and that is we can’t just be a party that says, ‘Oh, we’re paying attention about what happens every four years’.”

She continued:

“And I know there’s a lot of anxiety, particularly on the Democratic side, about how we are going to deal with Donald Trump in 2020. But right now, this week, the United States Senate is talking about a bill that will roll back protections. We’ve got the Dreamers. We’ve got the tax bill that’s gone through. We’re still fighting to provide health care for everyone. We’ve now — we should be having a gun debate on the floor of the United States Senate. It’s not only about the election in 2018 where I think we do need to be laser focused. But it’s about the fights every single day.”

Sticking with the “fight” theme, Warren — when asked by Todd if her answer constituted a “no” response — said, “I’m in this fight, that’s where I’m focused.”

Todd pressed on, with Warren at one point accusing her interviewer of “picking on” the senior Massachusetts senator:

TODD:

I take it as a no you’re not pledging to serve your full six-year term if you win reelection?

WARREN:

I already told you. I have no intention of running for the United States —

TODD:

All right.

WARREN:

For president.

TODD:

I don’t mean to pick on you about this, but you know how many people have said that —

WARREN:

Yes, you do.

TODD:

You know how many people have said that over the years two years before, and then of course have run — ended up running for president. You see why a lot of people aren’t going to believe that answer.

WARREN:

Look, what I’m telling you is that I am in these fights every day. For the people of Massachusetts, and for the people across this country. This government is working better and better and better for a thinner and thinner slice at the top. I am in these fights, and I am in this fight to retain my Senate seat in 2018. That’s where I’m focused. That’s where I’m going to stay focused. I’m not running for president.

TODD:

So no pledge, though, on the six years?

WARREN:

I am not running for president.

Warren’s answer may be a study in semantics, as she is — in fact — currently running for re-election to the Senate.

Todd later asked Warren about a recent Berkshire Eagle editorial urging her to submit to a DNA test in order to settle the debate about whether or not she can justly claim Native American heritage.

Todd asked Warren “what she makes” of the idea floated in the editorial.

Warren proceeded to duck the question and instead opted to tell a story.

WARREN:  So let me tell you the story of my family. My mother and daddy were born and raised in Oklahoma. My daddy first saw my mother when they were both teen-agers. He fell in love with this tall, quiet girl who played the piano. Head over heels. But his family was bitterly opposed to their relationship because she was part Native American.

They eventually eloped. They survived the Great Depression. The Dust Bowl. A lot of knocks. They raised my three brothers, all of whom headed off to the military, and me. And they fought. They loved each other. And most of all they hung together for 63 years. And that’s the story that my brothers and I all learned from our mom and our dad, from our grandparents, from all of our aunts and uncles. It’s a part of me, and nobody’s going to take that part of me away.

TODD:

No, I understand that.

WARREN:

Not ever.

TODD:

Look, I, I had a great-grandmother who swore my family was related to Robert E. Lee. And then I had a grandmother who did a whole bunch of genealogy research and it turned out we were related to some Lees, just not Robert E. Lee. What’s wrong with knowing?

WARREN:

Look, I do know. I know who I am. And never used it for anything. Never got any benefit from it anywhere. But what I did a couple of weeks ago is I went to talk to the leaders of the native tribes across the country. And I talked about the fact that President Trump can’t seem to hear my name without trying to throw a racial slur into it. Can’t seem to make it through a ceremony honoring Native American war heroes without trying to make something else out of it.

The interview concluded without a straight answer, and when Warren appeared on Fox News Sundayshe offered more of the same answers:

Her three Massachusetts GOP challengers proceeded to issue statements slamming Warren’s answers.

Winchester businessman John Kingston jumped on what has been interpreted from Warren’s answer on Meet the Press as a “no” as to whether she would pledge to serve out a full Senate term:

“The fact Sen. Warren refused to pledge to serve a full six-year term if re-elected shows the voters all they need to know about her priorities and true intentions,” Kingston said in his prepared statement. “Sen. Warren will always put her political ambitions before the interests of hardworking Massachusetts families. By claiming she isn’t running for president, while refusing to pledge to serve a full term, Sen. Warren is playing semantics to distract from her singular focus on advancing her presidential ambitions. Bay State voters are increasingly recognizing that Sen. Warren is an absentee senator, full time presidential candidate, divider-in-chief in Washington and the wrong voice to fight for them in the Senate.”

Beth Lindstrom, a candidate whose political background includes a stint working under former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, likewise criticized Warren’s apparent unwillingness to make a full-term promise in a Facebook post she fired off on Sunday:

“Do we really want a senator who is going to be spending more time in the Ohio Valley than Merrimack Valley? Senator Warren’s refusal to serve out a six-year term if re-elected is an insult to the people of Massachusetts. This year’s election may be just a small detail on the ambitious calendar of Senator Warren but I am working hard every day to give voters a real choice. They deserve a senator who will put their interests first.”

Geoff Diehl, a Republican state representative from Whitman who has previously challenged Warren to make a full-term pledge, issued the following prepared statement:

“While Senator Warren says she is not running for President, she still refuses to take the 6 year pledge. This week it was exposed that she has donated to every Democrat State Party in the nation. Her actions don’t match her words. Her continued refusal to take the 6 year pledge shows that she is running for President in 2020 and will abandon her constituents once again if re-elected. Our state deserves a full time Senator — not a part-time Senator, part-time author, and part-time presidential candidate.”

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