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Elizabeth Warren Wins the "Which Side Are You On?" Debate

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Cross-posted from The Nation


An overbearing and at times ridiculously aggressive Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown came across as a desperate man Thursday night, as he attempted to gain the upper hand in the first debate of this year's most closely watched US Senate race and, by extension, in a re-election contest that seems to be slipping away from him.

Brown attacked Elizabeth Warren, his surging Democratic challenger, from start to finish.

Warren, unruffled and showing the confidence of a woman who has moved ahead of Brown in most recent polls, sometimes rolled her eyes or shook her head in disappointment. She made her points about Wall Street wrong-doing and holding corporations to account, about ending the war on women and making sure Mitt Romney and a Republican Senate do not fill the next vacancies on the US Supreme Court. Brown could attack all he wanted, but the senator who joined fellow Republicans in trying to block President Obama's nomination of Elena Kagan to the High Court could not change the reality that Warren was right when she said, "This really may be the race for the control of the Senate and the Supreme Court may hang in the balance."

Warren was smooth and effective, "explaining things" with the same assurance that Bill Clinton displayed in Charlotte. It wasn't always easy; as Brown interrupted at every opportunity -- to accuse Warren of lying about her heritage, of attacking asbestos victims, of starting Occupy Wall Street.

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John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

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