Republican Sen. Scott Brown and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren met Wednesday night in Springfield, Mass. for their third debate — and continued to throw plenty of verbal punches.
For one thing, after Warren touted the high-quality education she got earlier in life when there much greater public investment in students’ tuition, Brown singled out a cause of higher costs today: Warren gets paid too much to teach at Harvard.
“Obviously, the cost of education is out of sight. We need to have an educated student population. I just had my youngest daughter graduate, and I certainly understand what those payments are,” said Brown. “And one of the largest driving forces behind the high cost of education is administrative costs. And as we know, Professor Warren makes about $350,000 to teach one course. She got a zero-interest loan and gets housing and other perks.
“It’s interesting: Kids are actually forced to go out and borrow money at a high interest rate. And they pay it to schools like Harvard, and Harvard actually goes and then gives a zero-interest loans to its professors. That’s one of the driving forces behind the high costs of education.”
Warren shot back: “I went to a commuter college. I paid $50 a semester for tuition. And I’m proud to have made it to where I’ve made it in my profession. But let’s be clear: I paid $50 a semester because America was investing in public colleges and universities at the time. That’s what we need to do now.”
At one point, Warren talked about the economic and political pressures facing the middle class: “So this has been pretty much my life’s work, is talking about what’s happening to America’s middle class. And let’s face it, America’s middle class has just been getting hammered. And Washington doesn’t work for them. Washington works for those who can hire and an army of lobbyists and lawyers. In fact, that’s why I’m in this race.”
Brown then went after Warren’s own past corporate work, and her calls for more regulation.
“It is about whose side you were on. And when you’re talking about getting hammered, Professor Warren, I suggest you put down the hammer, because it’s your regulations and your policies that are gonna be hurting —” Brown said, before being interrupted by profuse booing.
He then resumed his remarks: “Your policies that are gonna be hurting middle-class families, and every class of family in Massachusetts and the United States. You talk about lobbyists and an army of layers. You have Massachusetts’ premier lobbyist, Doug Rubin, working for you. And in terms of an army of lawyers, you’re one of them. You’re one of the hired guns that actually went out and got paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight against the people that you’re actually talking about.”
Warren got in her own shots at Brown, particularly seeking to puncture his position as a pro-choice, socially liberal Republican, and his recounting of his childhood experiences defending his mother against his abusive stepfather.
“So I have no doubt that Sen. Brown is a good husband and a good father to his daughters. But this is an issue that affects all of our daughters, and our granddaughters. And what matters here is how Sen. Brown votes,” said Warren. “So he’s gone to Washington, and he’s had some good votes. But he’s had exactly one chance to vote for equal pay for equal work, and he voted no. He had exactly one chance to vote for insurance coverage for birth control and other preventive services for women. He voted no. And he had exactly one chance to vote for a pro-choice woman — from Massachusetts — to the United States Supreme Court, and he voted no. Those are bad votes for women. The women of Massachusetts need a senator they can count on, not some of the time, but all of the time.”
She further declared: “I am a mother of a daughter, and a grandmother of granddaughters, and this is about their future. And I want to be blunt: We should not be fighting about equal pay for equal work, and access to birth control, in 2012. These issues were resolved years ago — until the Republicans brought them back.”
Brown went on to explain his vote against Justice Elena Kagan, the former Dean of Harvard Law School
“I didn’t vote for your boss,” said Brown. “And I hope she proves me wrong. She didn’t have judicial or courtroom experience, as I think is a prerequisite. And second, the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald and the United Chamber of Commerce (sic) said, right idea, the wrong bill. You need to read the bills. To give plaintiffs’ lawyers an early Christmas to allow them to go in and hurt small businesses, I’m not gonna do it.”
“All I can say, it’s like it was with the millionaires, the billionaires, and the oil companies. He has a lot of excuses for standing on the other side. But when it came down to it, in critical votes, he was not there for women. Massachusetts women deserve a senator they can count on all the time.”
The PollTracker Average currently shows Warren ahead, 48.5 percent to 44.3 percent. The candidates will have one final debate on Oct. 30, hosted in Boston by a media consortium.