Days after the race’s first televised debate, the Brown campaign countered Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren’s most recent endorsement with questions regarding her involvement with a massive asbestos lawsuit.
Brown gave a press conference Friday morning on issues with Traveler’s Insurance Company and a legal case involving asbestos victims. Brown claimed during Thursday night’s debate that Warren had been involved in the case.
In its most recent attack, the Brown campaign cites The Boston Globe’s May findings to support its argument that Warren was working for Traveler’s Insurance to help them win immunity from future asbestos lawsuits by establishing a $500 million trust that would have been paid to present and future victims.
“You see, Professor Warren is not just a Harvard Law professor, but she is also a hired gun,” Brown said in a video of the press conference. “And in the case of Traveler’s Insurance, the largest insurance company in our country, she was hired to get them off hook, the settlement stopped by victims of asbestos poisoning.”
In the midst of questions about education during the debate, Brown brought up Warren’s involvement in the asbestos case. “I’m on the taxpayers’ side, and you had a choice to make in your career, and you chose to side with one of the biggest corporations in the United States, Traveler’s Insurance, and you worked to prohibit people who got asbestos poisoning,” he said. “I hope all of the asbestos union workers are watching right now. She helped Traveler’s deny those benefits for asbestos poisoning.”
Warren argued that she was working to help people injured by asbestos and said Brown’s claim that she fought for the nation’s biggest insurance company was not true.
“The Boston Globe has looked at this, they’ve written about it, and it’s all there,” Warren said. “I’ve been out there for working families, I’ve been out there for working people.”
This comes in addition to continued criticism from the Brown campaign on Warren’s plan for jobs.
During the debate, Brown mentioned statistics from the National Federation of Independent Business multiple times, including claims that Warren’s plan would cost the nation 700,000 jobs, including 17,000 in Massachusetts.
Brown’s spokesman Colin Reed repeated the NFIB statistics, saying that Warren’s “agenda would be bad for jobs and bad for our economy at a time when we can least afford it.”
The July study reports that in the long run, an increase in taxes would cause employment to “fall by 0.5 percent or, roughly 710,000 fewer jobs, in today’s economy.”
The statement reflects Brown’s repeated criticism of Warren’s tax plan, which the Brown campaign says includes a $3.4 trillion tax hike.
But Principal Deputy Director of the National Economic Council Jason Furman found in July that the study has “major flaws, errors and misleading statements,” according to the White House blog.
“Even setting aside the fact that the study ignores the effects of the president’s tax proposals on short-term growth and long-term deficit reduction, the conclusions are still dramatically out-of-line with estimates by other analysts,” according to Furman’s analysis on the blog, “including not only the Congressional Budget Office but also the Bush Administration Treasury Department.”
Warren spokeswoman Julie Edwards said in an email that Warren thinks the government should be focused on putting people back to work in Massachusetts.
“Her ‘Rebuild Now’ plan is a fully paid for investment in our future that would help support thousands of jobs here in the Commonwealth,” she said. “Her plan would also help strengthen our infrastructure and create an environment where businesses can grow and succeed.”
Warren received the highly anticipated endorsement from Boston Mayor Thomas Menino Friday afternoon.
Menino said he chose to endorse her after getting to know and respect her and her work for the middle class.
The mayor only addressed Brown once in his endorsement speech when speaking about the jobs issue.
“Elizabeth got my approval when she backed the president’s jobs bills last fall,” he said. “They would have supported thousands of jobs in Boston, but Scott Brown voted against them.”
The endorsement capped off a week during which Warren gained momentum in the polls.
But more voters who watched Thursday’s debate thought Brown won, according to a survey of likely voters in Massachusetts from Kimball Political Consulting, a right-leaning firm.
Fifty percent of those surveyed said Brown won the debate, while only 40 percent thought Warren won.
The number of Independents who said Brown won was more than twice the number of Independents who said he did not.
The poll also shows Brown leading by one point, which falls within the 3.25 percent margin of error.