Magazine | May 28, 2012, Issue

Transcript: Massachusetts Senatorial Debate

Sponsored by the League of Women Voters and WBUR radio

Moderated by Andy Hiller, WHDH News

October 17, 2012

Location: Faneuil Hall, Boston, Massachusetts

Page 6:

Moderator: Senator Brown, you’ve stated publicly that while you support the Keystone XL pipeline, you are worried about its potential environmental impact. Given your party’s insistence on constructing the pipeline, how do you square your hesitation with your own party?

Senator Scott Brown: Andy, I’m glad you asked that. As you know — as all Bay Staters know — we’re in the middle of a difficult transition from non-renewable energy, most of which is bought from our enemies, frankly, to more renewable clean sources. But we’ve got to be careful as we make that transition. Does this mean we need to rely on our own resources, like sun, wind, and natural gas? Sure. But I think if you look at my record, you and all citizens of the Commonwealth will see that I’m independent. I don’t march to the party line. I don’t work for a political party. I work for the people of Massachusetts.

Moderator: Elizabeth Warren, do you have a rebuttal?

Elizabeth Warren: I do, Andy. Let me tell you a story. I was walking through the land with my horse. It was peaceful, this land. Peaceful and good. The eagle and the bear spirit were smiling. And then I saw some traffic and saw some litter upon the ground, and a single tear rolled down my cheek.

Moderator: Okay.

Elizabeth Warren: I’m not finished. And as the single tear rolled down my cheek I looked right at the camera. There. Now I’m done.

Moderator: Ohhhhkay. Senator Brown, you have 30 seconds.

Senator Brown: I don’t know how to answer that. I guess, I mean, I’m sorry she saw some litter and cried.

Elizabeth Warren: Are you sorry about killing my people with your smallpox-infested blankets?

Senator Brown: Andy, I thought we agreed that we weren’t going to question each other directly?

Moderator: Ms. Warren, that’s true.

Elizabeth Warren: We also agreed you people would stop just west of Kentucky. And you’d return the isle of the Manhattoes. So many agreements. So many broken promises.

Senator Brown: Boy, you are really doubling down on the Indian thing, aren’t you?

Elizabeth Warren: Was that a racist reference to my people’s involvement in casino gambling?

Senator Brown: No, I just –

#page#Elizabeth Warren: My people use those revenues for the health and education of their children. So they can stay on their sovereign lands and thrive and grow like the buffalo that used to roam free, before the white man came and ate them.

Senator Brown: I don’t think I ate a buffalo.

Elizabeth Warren: I wasn’t saying you personally. Your people.

Senator Brown: My people?

Elizabeth Warren: Your people. My people are peaceful and sit upon the land like the wind.

Senator Brown: I agree about the wind part.

Elizabeth Warren: And when we die, we return to the earth and join the brown bear.

Senator Brown: I’m confused. What are we talking about, Andy?

Elizabeth Warren: White man always needs to know what. Never needs to know why.

Moderator: If I could, I’d like to ask another question. Ms. Warren, you’re on the record as favoring a progressive income tax. Could you tell us, please, what you consider to be a tax rate that’s too high?

Elizabeth Warren: The earth and the skies and the waters belong to no one. The bear spirit and the eagle spirit roam a land without fences. How can anyone give to anyone what is not theirs to give? How can the bear spirit take from the eagle spirit? Where does the smoke begin and where does the flame end? Both are part of the fire god.

Moderator: Senator Brown?

Senator Brown: What?

Moderator: Do you have a rebuttal?

Senator Brown: I don’t know. I didn’t really understand that.

Elizabeth Warren: Because you only listen with your ears. White man needs to listen with his heart.

Senator Brown: I just — you wanted a rate, right, Andy?

Moderator: Hoping for one.

Senator Brown: I dunno. I think rates are too high as they are. I favor lowering them, to make a flatter, fairer system.

Moderator: Ms. Warren?

Elizabeth Warren: I believe I’ve answered it. But if there needs to be more clarification, perhaps I should drum my answer.(sounds of drumming)

Moderator: That’s all the time we have for this senatorial debate. We thank the participants and the League of Women Voters for their sponsorship.(sounds of drumming)

In This Issue


Politics & Policy

Hipster Hate

In the pilot episode of HBO’s raunchy new comedy Girls, the main character’s parents announce that they will no longer be giving their 24-year-old daughter an allowance. If the young ...



Politics & Policy


Don’t Be Cross with Her In “Occupy the Senate” (April 16), Kevin D. Williamson claims that Elizabeth Warren “was conspicuous in failing to cross herself” at a St. Patrick’s Day breakfast ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ If Geronimo had a great-great-great-step-granddaughter once removed, she’d look like Elizabeth Warren. ‐ If you have heard about the Obama campaign’s social-media offering “The Life of Julia,” you have likely ...

The Buffet Rule

This summer the State of Massachusetts will nix bake sales in school. Zero tolerance for frosting! Down with sprinkles! They want to ban kids’ selling fudge door-to-door to raise money, ...
Politics & Policy


THE LAST KEENERS IN SCHUYLKILL (A Neighborhood in Philadelphia) She remembered that the Tobins were the last To have wailing mourners at a wake Women who cried in disbelief that a soul had fled. Who ...
Happy Warrior


Some years ago in this space, I cited a famous Gerald Ford line he liked to use when trying to ingratiate himself with conservative audiences: “A government big enough to ...

Most Popular

Film & TV

It’s the Deep Breath before the Plunge

Warning. SPOILERS are ahead. If you don’t want to know anything about episode two of the final season of Game of Thrones, stop reading. Now. One of my favorite moments in Peter Jackson's outstanding adaptation of Lord of the Rings happened in the final movie, The Return of the King. On the eve of Mordor's ... Read More