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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Warren Ad Paints Her as a Fighter, and Throws a Punch


BOSTON - Elizabeth Warren is throwing the first punch in the ad wars in the increasingly bitter Massachusetts Senate race, with a new television commercial on Thursday that accuses Senator Scott P. Brown, her Republican opponent, of “siding with the big-money guys.”

The language is mild compared to what both Ms. Warren and Mr. Brown have been saying about each other on the campaign trail. But they have kept their television ads - for public consumption - positive, with self-promotional sketches and without mention of the other candidate.

Ms. Warren's new 30-second spot is the first to venture off that safe ground and is a sign of how much the race is intensifying ahead of the first debat e next week.

After supporters expressed concern to The Boston Globe that her previous ads failed to connect her on a personal level with voters or link her to Massachusetts, the new ad is about as Massachusetts as you can get.

It features Art Ramalho, Micky Ward's first trainer, speaking in his gym in Lowell in a Massachusetts.

“We can spot the real fighters here in this gym,” Mr. Ramalho says. “Elizabeth Warren is a real fighter. I don't know about Scott Brown. He's been siding with the big-money guys.”

Mr. Ward, the boxer who was featured in Mark Wahlberg's movie “The Fighter,” had been prepared to endorse Mr. Brown a few weeks ago but backed off at the last minute. The Lowell Sun said that Mr. Ward realized belatedly that Mr. Brown was against unions and against same-sex marriage.

It is not clear whether Warren aides tried to recruit Mr. Ward himself for a commercial, but they seem happy with his trai ner. Mr. Ramalho's image as a fighter dovetails perfectly with the image that the campaign wants to project of Ms. Warren. And he speaks directly to a segment of voters - blue-collar Reagan Democrats - who may have been put off by Ms. Warren's manner and by Mr. Brown's caricature of her as “Professor Warren.”

“She's got heart, she got guts and she's not gonna back down,” Mr. Ramalho says in the ad.

The ad is the second from the Warren camp in two days; as in the first one released Wednesday, Ms. Warren does not speak this time, except to say that she approves this message.

Mr. Brown said in a statement that the Warren advertisement was not true, though he did not specify what was untrue.

“Her misleading and untrue attacks against me are a sign of desperation from an increasingly desperate and flailing campaign,” Mr. Brown's statement said. “The people of Massachusetts deserve and expect better, especially from a first-time candidate who initially claimed not to like attack ads.”