By Andy Metzger
State House News Service
---- — BOSTON - U.S. Sen
ate candidate Elizabeth Warren spent an hour on the radio yesterday morning defending her work for an insurer in an asbestos lawsuit and knocking her opponent U.S. Sen. Scott Brown for his positions and votes.
On her legal work for Travelers Insurance to help it set up a $500 million trust for future victims of asbestos poisoning, Warren told listeners on WTKK, “During the time that I was involved in the case they were going to pay a half a billion dollars.” She said, “After I left the case … it went to a different court in the second circuit. I wasn’t part of it, and I think the court decided the case wrong.” The company reportedly did not wind up paying any money because of that second circuit ruling.
Asked about an area in which she agreed with a Republican idea, Warren started by noting Brown votes she sided with, saying, “I agree with him on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. I think that was the right vote,” and then criticized Brown on his stance that states should set their own gun control policy for assault weapons. Pressed on an area in which she agrees with Republicans, Warren said, “Fannie and Freddie. I think that we have to have significant reform on Fannie [Mae] and Freddie [Mac]. And when I say significant, I don’t mean around the margins. There’s been a lot of criticism on the Republican side, particularly, of Fannie and Freddie, and I think they’re right. I think there’s a lot there that’s wrong.”
On whether Sen. Brown deserves credit for his vote in favor of the Dodd-Frank Act, financial reforms that created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Warren said, “He certainly does. But let’s keep in mind, what you’re really talking about is the guy who held the card…. whether or not the bill would go forward, and that’s a really powerful position to be in.” Later she said, “At the end of the day it was a deal and they got the deal through and they all stood up and said they were glad to have a deal, but I think Scott Brown – this is really the point – he made it clear on whose behalf he was negotiating.
On the ballot question that wou
ld legalize medical marijuana, Warren said, “I held my father’s hand when he died of cancer, and it’s really painful when you do something like that, up close and personal … If there’s something a physician can prescribe that can help someone who’s suffering, I’m in favor of that. Now I want to make sure they’ve got the right restrictions, I mean it should be like any other prescription drug, that there’s the right control over it.”
n the other ballot question, which would allow physicians to prescribe life-ending medication to qualified patients who request it, Warren said, “It’s trying to think through what the right answer is, but you know it’s hard to watch somebody die, and it’s hard to watch somebody you love die. And I turn in the direction of the more autonomy and dignity you can give to the person who is facing death, that that’s the right tilt. We’ve got to be careful about all the protections built into the system, but surely that’s going to be part of the right answer – the wishes of the person who’s dying.”
On her claim to be the descendent of Cherokee and Delaware American Indians, Warren said, “This is part of who I am. And it’s part of who my brothers are. I can’t deny who I am…. I didn’t use it for any personal benefit.”