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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Warren Says She Should Not Have Repeated \'Save Capitalism\' Comments


SOMERVILLE, Mass. â€"  Elizabeth Warren said Tuesday that she had made a mistake in repeating comments from supporters who she says tell her she would “save capitalism.”

“I passed along a comment that was over the top, and it was silly for me to do so,” Ms. Warren, the Democratic candidate for the Senate, told reporters at a construction site here during a campaign stop.

She told  The National Journal in an article published Sunday: “Every now and again, I meet with someone who's been very successful on Wall Street who says: ‘I want to support your campaign because I believe you will save capitalism. I believe in capitalism, and I understand there have to be rules. And they have to be consistently enforced.' That is what I think is at stake in this election. ”

The anti-Warren Boston Herald said Tuesday that the comment had conservatives “rolling in the aisles.”

The comment sprang from an effort by Ms. Warren to defend her view that people who succeed in business do not do so by themselves but because of the government â€" a view that she first expressed last year and that received renewed attention earlier this month when President Obama repeated it and his campaign subsequently walked it back.

Ms. Warren's Republican opponent, Senator Scott P. Brown, and others have been ridiculing her for her stance and calling her anti-business. She visited the  construction site here on Tuesday to begin a series of campaign stops that she calls her “rebuild now” tour, in which she is emphasizing the importance of government investment in infrastructure like roads, bridges and communications systems.

In addition to retracting the comment about saving capitalism, she appeared to be more inclusive toward entrepreneurs as equal partners with government in building businesses rather than as unable to succeed without publ ic investments in infrastructure.

“All of those things are the things we invest in so that when someone comes along with a great business idea,” she said, “when someone's ready to do the work to build a business, when someone is ready to put it all out there and take those risks, the magic can happen.”

Her plan would pay for more government spending on infrastructure in part by ending certain tax breaks for corporations and ending government spending on oil and gas research and development.

The Brown campaign said that Ms. Warren was  “doubling down” on her anti-business views and that her plan was too costly. Ms. Warren said that Mr. Brown was “just plain wrong” and that he did not want to invest in the future.

While talking with reporters, Ms. Warren also said she was excited about her role at the Democratic National Convention, when she will speak in prime time, just before former President Bill Clinton. Mr. Obama is to accept the nomination the following night.

She said she was nervous but saw it as “a great opportunity to talk with 150 million people about how America's working families are getting hammered and how we turn that around.”

Ms. Warren and Mr. Brown are running neck and neck in the polls.


Follow Katharine Q. Seelye on Twitter at @kseelye.