Elizabeth Warren is taking aim at a new opponent: Paul Ryan.
The Democrat, who is running to unseat Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, has been invigorated by the injection of Ryan into the presidential contest — an opportunity that allows her to play to the strength of her financial background after a long summer of tight polls and an extended flap over her Native American ancestry.
Ryan’s emergence onto the 2012 scene might just give Warren a new wedge against Brown’s claims of independence from his party as he seeks to duplicate his upset 2010 special election win in the blue state state. Expect the Warren camp to keep pounding away at Brown’s ties to Ryan and his controversial budget plan, regardless of what distinctions Brown draws.
“Scott Brown wants Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan elected,” Warren communications director Julie Edwards told TPM. “They’re all on the same Republican team. They stand with billionaires, big corporations and big oil — not middle class families.”
On Monday, Warren appeared on MSNBC, and told Chris Matthews:
“Look, [Brown] clearly wants Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to be the president and vice president of the United States. He wants them to lay out the economic blueprint, and he wants them to execute on the economic blueprint. He can wave his hands all he wants, but he’s not backing off from that. Scott Brown has said there is no one he trusts more on the economy than Mitt Romney — and Mitt Romney has picked Paul Ryan.”
Warren kept hammering at that theme on Tuesday, as she campaigned around Massachusetts.
“What [Brown] has voted for already is in the very same direction as Mitt Romney’s tax plan and Paul Ryan’s tax plan,” Warren said at an appearance in Dorchester, according to the Boston Herald. “He has voted repeatedly to keep tax breaks and subsidies for the wealthiest corporations and the wealthiest individuals, and he’s said tax increases on the middle class are fine with him.”
And for his part, Brown does have to thread a needle very carefully. Over a year ago, he actually voted against the Ryan plan — and explained himself in a detailed Politico op-ed in which he said he preferred making improvements to the existing system over drastic changes.
On Monday, Brown’s campaign would not directly answer his current stance on Ryan’s plan, instead accusing Democrats of cutting Medicare.
Brown objected to Warren’s attempts to tie him to the vice-presidential nominee on Wednesday, calling Ryan a “good guy” but insisting he is his own man.
“I know professor Warren would love to run against Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan but she’s running against me,” Brown said, “somebody who has a record of service, who will continue to work in a truly bipartisan manner, who has gotten many endorsements from Democrats and has a whole host of people working to get him elected.
“I think she should probably focus on me rather than national figures.”
The PollTracker Average shows am incredibly tight race, with Warren narrowly leading Brown, 40.8 percent to 38.8 percent.