Elizabeth Warren Lone Survivor of Democratic Party Nominating Convention in Springfield (Audio)
Warren to Brown: “If that’s all you’ve got, I’m ready.”
By MARY SERREZE
SPRINGFIELD — More than 3,500 Democratic Party delegates from across Massachusetts made the pilgrimage to Springfield’s MassMutual Center Saturday to rally with big-name pols and choose their party’s nominee in what promises to be a knock-down-drag-out Senate race this year. When the dust settled, consumer advocate and Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Warren walked away with 96% of the delegates, the largest margin of any candidate in a contested race in the party’s history, making her the presumptive candidate to face off against Republican Senator Scott Brown in November’s general election.
The results soundly pushed Middleton immigration lawyer and single-payer health care advocate Marisa DeFranco off the ticket; party rules require 15 percent of the delegates’ votes to force a primary election in September.
Making scant mention of controversy surrounding her claims of Native American heritage — and whether those claims brought her some advantage in advancing her academic career — Warren’s remarks focused on Brown’s voting record and on Democratic Party principals.
“I don’t care about what kind of truck he drives . . . I care about how he votes,” she said.
Brown voted twice to let interest rates on student loans double, she said; opposed three jobs bills; co-sponsored a bill to let employers block coverage for women’s health; supported limiting the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority; and backed subsidies for big oil.
Warren said the Democrats stand for education, jobs, the right to unionize, Social Security and Medicare, women’s rights, veterans, small businesses, and “accountability and a level playing field — so that no one steals your purse on Main Street or your pension on Wall Street.”
“For so many years our champion was Ted Kennedy,” remarked Warren. “… It’s a long way from Ted Kennedy to Scott Brown.”
As for the Native American heritage controversy, Warren said Brown is using the issue as a distraction to block discussion on his voting record.
“His answer is to talk about my family and to tell me how I grew up,” she said. “Well, I say this, if that’s all you’ve got, Scott Brown, I’m ready.”
Warren characterized Brown, who is running with a message of bipartisanship, as a “Wall Street Republican; a Big Oil Republican; a Mitt Romney Republican.”
In the days before the convention, Warren acknowledged she told Harvard Law School and her former employer, the University of Pennsylvania, of her Native American roots, but that she did so after being hired, never gaining preferential treatment based on minority status.
A host of politicians — including U.S. Representatives John Olver, Richard Neal, and Jim McGovern; State Auditor Suzanne Bump, Treasurer Steve Grossman, Attorney General Martha Coakley, Lt. Governor Tim Murray and Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno — warmed up the crowd; Governor Deval Patrick then delivered a fiery speech that excoriated the Republican record in Massachusetts and called for Democrats to “grow some backbone and stand up for what we believe.”
Patrick said under his watch the Commonwealth recovered from “sixteen years of Republican governors” and that Massachusetts now “leads the nation” in education, transportation, job creation, and economic stability, having in 2011 gained an AA+ credit rating from Standard and Poor’s.
Former governor Mitt Romney was “more interested in having the job than doing the job,” said Patrick.
In delivering her remarks, DeFranco received a polite but lukewarm response, but earned enthusiastic applause for her remarks on health care policy.
“We have rationing of health care in this country, and it’s called your health insurance company,” said DeFranco. “That is why I support Single Payer Now!”
Twitter was alive with 140-character posts during and after the event under the hashtag #springfield2012. “Dukakis siting at the mcd’s at ludlow rest stop on pike. Place filled with starving democrats,” tweeted @cubiclegirl, documenting the mass exodus from Springfield to Boston and points east mid-afternoon.
© Northampton Media 2012
Mary Serreze can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Special thanks to photographer Anthony Mateus for collaborating with NM on Saturday.