Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren struck back at former Bush White House senior adviser Karl Rove Thursday, after an ad by the Rove-linked group Crossroads GPS attacked her for overseeing "bailouts that helped pay big bonuses for bank executives while middle-class Americans lost out."
"Congress had Warren oversee how your tax dollars were spent, bailing out the same banks that helped cause the financial meltdown, bailouts that helped pay big bonuses to bank executives while middle-class Americans lost out" says the narrator in the ad, referring to her position as chair of the congressional oversight panel on the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
Crossroads GPS attacked Warren, a professor at Harvard Law School who has long advocated for financial reforms, last month for being too close to the Occupy Wall Street movement, directly contradicting the group's most recent ad suggesting that she is too close to Wall Street.
"I can't find the right words to describe how wrong that is. Factually wrong and morally wrong," said Warren of the ad to the Boston Herald. "Karl Rove is not telling the truth, and I think anyone who is not telling the truth shouldn't be running ads in this race," she continued.
"Karl Rove was part of the inner circle when President Bush pushed for TARP bailouts," she added. "Now he's using Wall Street money to attack me for being too cozy with Wall Street? I was calling out Wall Street over the TARP bill from the beginning."
Warren also appeared on MSNBC's "The Last Word" Thursday night and was asked about the ad. "I knew that Wall Street was going to come after me with everything they had. They want to make sure I'm not the next senator from Massachusetts. But it seems like the strategy now is the kitchen sink strategy. You know, throw anything you can at her and let's see what happens," she said.
Warren's panel wrote scathing reports about how the Treasury Department implemented the program. One report hit the Treasury Department for taking "no steps to use any of [the $700 billion rescue package] to alleviate the foreclosure crisis," and that "raises questions about whether Treasury has complied with Congress' intent that Treasury develop a 'plan that seeks to maximize assistance for homeowners,'" according to ABC News.
She criticized bank bonuses in March 2010: "I do not understand how it is that financial institutions could think that they could take taxpayer money and then turn around and act like it's business as usual," she said. "I don't understand how they can't see that the world has changed in a fundamental way, that it is not business as usual when you take taxpayer dollars."
A poll released Wednesday by UMass Lowell and the Herald found Warren leading Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) by a 49-42 margin. The survey suggested that early advertising both by Crossroads and the Warren campaign has mostly helped her -- her name identification has gone up, while Brown's approval rating fell from 53 to 45 percent.
UPDATE: Crossroads GPS responded to Warren in a statement Friday. "Professor Warren's response shows how asleep at the switch she was when the Democrat-led Congress passed the Wall Street bailouts in 2008 and 2009 and put her in charge of overseeing them - more than a year after Karl Rove had left the White House," said Steven Law, president and CEO of Crossroads GPS.
Read more about Warren's career in the slideshow below: