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October 2, 2012

Brown, Warren face off in debate

LOWELL — U.S. Sen Scott Brown and challenger Elizabeth Warren found themselves jousting again over questions of her claims of Native American ancestry, his past and future votes, and tax policy in their second debate last night.

They drew the clearest distinctions between themselves in the hourlong debate at the Tsongas Arena in the areas of taxation, spurring the economy and the DREAM Act, a proposal that would create a path for children of illegal immigrants to become permanent residents through military service or obtaining an advanced degree.

"The DREAM Act, I don’t support it,” Brown said. “It’s a form of back door amnesty. We need to improve our legal immigration system.”

Brown said the entire American immigration system needed to be overhauled. And he accused Warren of being in favor of allowing undocumented immigrants to go to public colleges while paying the in-state tuition rate and to get driver’s licenses. He did not specifically say whether he opposed those things, and Warren did not rebut those points.

"This is a big difference between us. I would strongly support the DREAM Act,” Warren said. “I also believe we need comprehensive immigration reform. We need to follow the law, and we need to enforce our borders.”

The candidates, pushed by moderator David Gregory of “Meet the Press,” laid out their positions on closing the federal budget deficit and accused each other of supporting policies that would hurt middle-class families.

Warren advocated the so-called Buffett Rule, a proposal named after billionaire investor Warren Buffett that would impose a 30-percent tax on income over $1 million, and said taxes on the wealthiest taxpayers should rise to narrow the deficit.

"What Senator Brown doesn’t want to talk about is that he signed the extremist right-wing pledge never to raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires,” she said, referring to conservative activist Grover Norquist’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge that asked politicians to promise to refuse to support any revenue increase of any kind.

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