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Political Intelligence

Brown, others in Mass. GOP try to cast Warren as un-American

Elizabeth Warren has said that successful business owners owe a large tax debt to society. Elizabeth Warren has said that successful business owners owe a large tax debt to society. (File/Associated Press)
By Glen Johnson
Globe Staff / October 2, 2011

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Oklahoma has been part of the union since 1907, the 46th member of the United States.

That hasn’t stopped Senator Scott Brown and the Massachusetts Republican Party from suggesting that Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren - an Oklahoma native - may be un-American, or at least acting that way.

In a fund-raising appeal last week, Brown campaign manager Jim Barnett highlighted a recent video in which Warren energetically argued that factory owners had made their wealth with the help of society, so they should be willing to pay their fair share of taxes.

“Elizabeth Warren and her inflammatory rhetoric will divide our country and our Commonwealth at a time when we need to come together to confront the very serious economic challenges facing us,’’ Barnett wrote. “Let’s remember we’re Americans first.’’

On Thursday, the state GOP - which works in cooperation with the Brown campaign - fueled the image of Warren as un-American, or at least noncapitalist.

It pointed to an article about her Senate campaign in People’s World, a newspaper that proudly bills itself as a “direct descendant of the Daily Worker’’ and claims “a special relationship with the Communist Party USA.’’

Massachusetts Republicans called attention to the article with a news release headlined, “Communist Party News Outlet Gives Favorable Review To Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren.’’

The branding started in mid-August, when the Harvard Law School professor and former Obama administration official filed paperwork for an exploratory campaign committee.

In a news release that day, the GOP labeled Warren “a militant liberal.’’

Romney goes on the offensive in immigration debate

As the New England Patriots may prove this season, the best defense is often a good offense.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is taking that tack as he tries to brand Texas Governor Rick Perry as soft on illegal immigration.

Perry favors allowing the children of illegal immigrants in Texas to pay in-state tuition rates to public colleges and universities, an idea that Romney has blasted. He said it is tantamount to giving them up to a $100,000 subsidy that is not available to the children of legal residents from any of the other 49 states.

Perry initially said critics of the program “don’t have a heart,’’ but he said this past week that the word choice was “inappropriate’’ and the result of being “over-passionate.’’

Romney, though, is not without his own vulnerability on the issue.

In 2006, the Globe reported that he had illegal immigrants maintaining his then-home in Belmont. A year later, he had to fire the same landscaper after the Globe found illegal immigrants still working on the property.

Romney aggressively sought to maintain his distance from the disclosure, saying he had not hired illegal immigrants. He emphasized that the firm he hired to maintain his property had hired them.

But that didn’t stop rival Rudy Giuliani from branding him two-faced on the issue.

Romney, who attacked the former New York mayor for leading a “sanctuary city,’’ was himself running a “sanctuary mansion,’’ Giuliani said in one debate.

Former transportation boss goes back to the law

Former state transportation secretary Jeffrey Mullan has a new job.

Foley Hoag LLP announced that Mullan had returned to the Boston-based law firm to resume a practice focused on local, regional, and national infrastructure. He had previously headed Foley Hoag’s Infrastructure and Transportation Practice.

He left in 2007 to serve as undersecretary and general counsel in the Executive Office of Transportation. Mullan later became transportation secretary when James Aloisi resigned.

Mullan stepped down on Sept. 2 after criticism that his department bungled government and public notifications after a Big Dig tunnel light fell last winter. Mullan, though, said he was not leaving because of controversy, but because he needed a bigger private-sector salary with two children in college.

The bad publicity was noteworthy because Mullan’s trademark is straight talk.

In one 2009 e-mail later obtained by the media, he famously warned that there were “landmines everywhere’’ as Governor Deval Patrick and his administration sought federal stimulus money from the Obama White House for a pedestrian footbridge outside Gillette Stadium.

It was proposed by Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

Glen Johnson is lead blogger for Political Intelligence, available online at www.boston.com /politics. He can be reached at johnson@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.