Colin Reed: Warren again flubs response to attack on who she really is

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Before she was upended Friday morning by questions about her false claims to minority status, Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts was enjoying another positive week in her presidential campaign.

After a sluggish start, Warren’s political fortunes have been on the rise of late.

A May 21 poll from Quinnipiac University showed Warren in third place in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination at 13 percent – up from 4 percent in March.

Warren was close behind Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who was in second place in the poll at 16 percent. But she trailed far behind early frontrunner former Vice President Joe Biden, who was favored by 35 of Democrats and voters leaning Democratic.

As Warren’s viability in a 23-candidate field has increased amid a barrage of positive news coverage, so too has renewed scrutiny around her past. That’s a surefire sign of any candidate with momentum.

Now – believe it or not – it’s Warren’s liberal credentials that are under fire.

Among the skeletons in Warren’s closet, voters are most familiar with swirling questions about her claim to Native American heritage. Driven ruthlessly by President Trump and compounded by her own clumsy handling of a DNA test, the information flow around Warren has centered on this scandal for years.

The matter had ebbed of late – until Friday.

Thus far, the political attacks on Warren’s ancestry claims have come from her opponents on the right. Her fellow Democrats have steered clear of the issue, which has robbed it of reaching its full potency.

During a tense interview on the syndicated radio show “The Breakfast Club” – which has emerged this year as a “must-stop spot” for Democratic candidates – Warren once again failed to emerge unscathed from basic questions about her ancestry.

After falling back on her well-worn and unpersuasive talking points, Warren was compared by an interviewer who calls himself “Charlamagne tha God” to the “original Rachel Dolezal,” a white woman who claimed to be African-American.

Splinter News declared Warren “disastrously unprepared” to address the controversy.

Thus far, the political attacks on Warren’s ancestry claims have come from her opponents on the right. Her fellow Democrats have steered clear of the issue, which has robbed it of reaching its full potency.

At its core, the entire question is whether Warren’s claims to minority status when applying to Ivy League institutions for jobs could have denied a more deserving applicant a position.

Warren has steadfastly denied that allegation, but should one of her primary opponents decide it’s time to press the case, she will have a fresh round of questions to answer. No longer will she be able to wave it aside as an attack from her right-wing detractors

Warren’s ancestry isn’t the only matter under the microscope. Late last week, The Washington Post uncovered more than 50 legal cases Warren was involved in during her time as a corporate attorney. It was also revealed that Warren was billing up to $675 per hour for her work.

In 2012 – Warren’s first and only other competitive political campaign until now – the longtime law professor was far from forthcoming about her past legal work. Back then, she reluctantly disclosed 13 cases – four times less than the number the Post reported – and only under immense political pressure.

Why do the details of Warren’s decades-old work as a highly compensated corporate attorney matter now? After all, this is America and there’s nothing wrong with making money. But that’s not true when you’re running for the nomination of a party hijacked by socialism.

Warren’s skittishness in addressing her legal work is a tell. She knows that representing corporations in their legal battles undercuts her core campaign message as a middle-class warrior standing up for the little guy.

Sure, Warren claims that she was really on the side of the victims during complex bankruptcy negotiations, but it doesn’t require an Ivy League degree to understand that companies tend not to hire lawyers to help them pay out more generous settlements.

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Once again, Warren’s corporate work is a political hit best delivered from the left. With large Democratic field and the first presidential debates coming in June, there will be ample opportunity for one of her opponents to draw further blood.

As Warren’s surges upward in the polls, her opponents have an incentive to attack her. The fireworks over the next few weeks should be fun to watch.

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