With 18 days to go before the election, Sen. Scott Brown and his Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren continue their bitter Massachusetts Senate battle, each releasing new ads aimed at scoring last-minute votes in one of the most closely-watched elections of the cycle.
Brown, who has in some recent polls appeared to trail Warren, targeted his Democratic rival for her record in law, attacking her involvement in a case in the 1990s during which she helped draft a petition to the Supreme Court on behalf of LTV Steel in its effort to avoid paying into a health care fund for retired coal miners.
"The coal company had moved on but they didn't just leave buildings behind," the Brown ad says. "LTV Steel went to court to avoid paying health benefits it had promised to retired coal miners. The corporation's hired gun was Elizabeth Warren. Warren sided with yet another big corporation against working people."
Invoking another recent attack, in which Brown accused Warren of fighting asbestos victims in a different lawsuit, the narrator said: "First asbestos victims, now she worked against coal miners. Elizabeth Warren's just not who she says she is."
The Warren campaign has disputed both of these attack lines: Of the LTV Steel case, the campaign argued that the coal miners were never in danger of losing their benefits and that the case was about bankruptcy principles. Of the charge that Warren opposed asbestos victims, the Boston Globe reported that attorneys who represented most of the victims in question sided with Warren on the issue, while a smaller number of victims opposed her. The Globe has also disputed Brown's asbestos-related ad - which cites the Globe - as misleading.
The Warren ad, alternately, does not mention Brown, a fairly well-liked figure in the state, instead zeroing in on the notion that the control of the Senate could hinge on the outcome of the Massachusetts race.
"Just one Senator could put Republicans in control of the United States Senate," says a narrator in the ad. "Scott Brown could be that Senator. What would Republican control mean? Deep cuts in education, Medicare. New tax breaks for millionaires. The next Supreme Court justice could overturn Roe v. Wade."
"One vote could make the difference," the narrator continues. "Your vote, against a Republican Senate. Your vote for Elizabeth Warren."