BOSTON (State House News Service) - Gov. Deval Patrick on Thursday called the actions of U.S. Sen. Scott Brown's staff and supporters caught on video at two rallies making Native American war whoop sounds "childish and disappointing," suggesting the blame falls on Brown to set the tone for his campaign.
"If that's what they do publicly, you wonder what they do privately," Patrick said during his monthly appearance on WTKK-FM Thursday morning.
Patrick said that from his experience in politics the tone of the campaign gets set by the candidate. "I think it says a lot about Senator Brown and most of it not flattering, and I hope when they get to debate next Monday that they get to the things that they can do and think government can do to help people help themselves."
Brown planned to campaign in Saugus Thursday afternoon by having lunch with voters at Kelly's Roast Beef. Democrat Elizabeth Warren put out a statement urging the campaigns to get back to debating issues rather than focusing on controversies like her claimed Cherokee ancestry.
"The distractions need to stop," Warren said.
Two videos were posted online this week of at least one Brown staffer, a Massachusetts Republican Party staff member and other supporters making war whooping sounds and doing the "tomahawk chop" chant to apparently mock Warren.
MassGOP spokesman Tim Buckey said party staffer Brad Garrett had been "reprimanded" for his role in leading the tomahawk chop on one of the videos, and a Brown spokeswoman said the senator spoke to his staff about the incidents.
"Senator Brown has spoken to his entire staff – including the individuals involved in this unacceptable behavior – and issued them their one and only warning that this type of conduct will not be tolerated," said Brown press secretary Alleigh Marre, in a statement.
"As we enter the final stretch of this campaign, emotions are running high, and while Senator Brown can't control everyone, he is encouraging both sides to act with respect. He regrets that members of his staff did not live up to the high standards that the people of Massachusetts expect and deserve," Marre said.
Brown has called on Warren to disclose a complete list of the corporate clients she has represented during her career following reports that she helped represent Travelers Insurance and LTV Steel before the Supreme Court seeking protections for both companies against future lawsuits or payments to a health care trust fund for mine workers.
Asked if Warren should release the list of her corporate clients, Patrick said, "I don't think that's a problem," notwithstanding any legal confidentiality agreements she might have.
Warren has argued she was defending legal bankruptcy principles that would allow a greater pool of workers to have access to benefits and compensation. Brown, however, has said her legal work undercuts her claim to be fighting for the middle class.
Warren has declined to release the list of her clients prior to entering public service in 2008, when she disclosed all client contacts on her financial disclosure forms.
"I assume Scott Brown would do the same. I don't think he has," Patrick said of the senator, who is also a lawyer and had an active legal practice while a state senator. Brown's campaign has not responded to inquiries for his own list of clients.
Brown campaign manager Jim Barnett on Thursday pointed out again that professor at Harvard Law School are required to submit lists of their clients to the school each year, contradicting Warren's statement on the radio last week that the list doesn't exist.
"The voters of Massachusetts are entitled to no less transparency than the deans at Harvard. Professor Warren needs to explain why she is once again being dishonest with the people she is seeking to represent," Barnett said.
Patrick said he believed Warren would win in November, but also said it won't and shouldn't be easy. He called Brown a "fantastic campaigner," but said Warren would be "better and more reliable for Massachusetts" on the issues important to him.
Brown's campaign has not backed off its criticism of Warren for checking herself off as a Native American in a law directory without proof of her ancestry besides family stories. Brown claims Warren has failed the "character test," and should also release her Harvard University personnel records to prove she didn't benefit from claiming minority status.
The Brown campaign on Wednesday circulated a statement from George Thomas, a Pequot from Hyde Park and member of the Affiliated Tribes of New England blasting Warren.
"Being of Native American and African American ancestry, I find it insulting and wrong for Professor Elizabeth Warren to claim minority status as a Native American at Harvard. Professor Warren has never reached out to the Native American community within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to offer an explanation or an apology," Thomas said in the statement.
The senator's campaign also sought to discredit Bill John Baker, the principal chief
of the Cherokee Nation, who on Wednesday called the actions of Brown's staffer and supporters "racist" and said a campaign that would allow such behavior "must be called to task for their actions."
According to Brown's campaign, Baker was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte earlier this month and has given money to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Copyright State House News Service