Warren Apologizes for Native American Claim: Campaign Update

Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou

(Bloomberg) -- Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren on Friday apologized again for her past claim of Native American ancestry, saying she “shouldn’t have done it,” addressing a controversy that has made her a target of President Donald Trump.

“Never had anything to do with any job I ever got or any benefit,” Warren said during a campaign event in Peterborough, New Hampshire. “But even so, I shouldn’t have done it. I am not a person of color. I am not a citizen of a tribe and I have apologized for confusion I have caused on tribal citizenship, tribal sovereignty and for any harm I have caused.”

Warren’s response came after a voter asked her to explain the “confusion” during a town hall in New Hampshire. The controversy has dogged her since 2012, when Scott Brown, her Republican opponent in the Massachusetts Senate race, criticized her for identifying as Native American during her career as a law professor.

In August, she offered a public apology during a Native American presidential forum in Iowa in August.

Trump has long taunted her for the claim, frequently referring to her as “Pocahontas.”

At the rally Friday, she said Trump “has a strategy going forward. He hopes what we’re going to do is turn against each other.”

Biden Super-PAC Makes Ad Buy in Iowa (12:09 p.m.)

Unite the Country, a super-PAC started by former aides of Joe Biden, is launching a $650,000 advertising campaign in Iowa promoting his candidacy.

The group’s first spot features a montage of photos starting with Biden as a young man and excerpts from a speech in which Biden highlights his stance favoring marriage equality, his sponsorship of the Violence Against Women Act and the assault weapons ban enacted as part of the 1994 crime bill he sponsored.

The ad doesn’t mention other Democratic candidates. It also doesn’t mention President Donald Trump, whose attacks on Biden were cited by the super-PAC’s founders as the reason they were forming the group. Trump’s campaign spent $8 million on television and digital ads starting in late October that criticized Biden over his son’s work for a Ukrainian energy firm.

Unite the Country bought air time starting Monday in four Iowa markets, according to Advertising Analytics, which tracks political commercials. Biden is in fourth place in the state, according to the Real Clear Politics poll average. -- Bill Allison

Warren Gets Clean Bill of Health in Report (9:10 a.m.)

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is a “very healthy 70-year-old woman,” her doctor said in a medical report released by the campaign Friday.

“Senator Warren is in excellent health and has been throughout the 20 years I have served as her physician,” said Dr. Beverly Woo, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and senior physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “There are no medical conditions or health problems that would keep her from fulfilling the duties of the president of the United States.”

The records show that she got her most recent physical examination in January and her annual flu shot in October. Warren has “excellent” cholesterol levels and normal blood pressure. At 5 feet 8 inches, she weighs 129 pounds. Her only medical condition is hypothyroidism, for which she takes levothyroxine, which keeps her thyroid hormone levels normal, Woo said.

Warren “has never smoked, used drugs or had any problem with alcohol use,” the report said. “She exercises regularly and follows a healthy diet despite her very busy schedule.”

Warren is the only top-tier candidate to release medical records so far. Bernie Sanders, 78, who had a heart attack in early October, said he will make his available at “the appropriate time.” Joe Biden, 77, has not yet released his information but has said he will do so before the Iowa caucuses in February. Pete Buttigieg, who at 37 is the youngest candidate in the race, has not released any records. -- Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou

Sanders Aims to Break Up AT&T, Comcast (8:34 a.m.)

Senator Bernie Sanders’ $150 billion plan aimed at bringing high-speed internet access to all U.S. households would break up Internet service provider and cable “monopolies,” singling out such companies as Comcast Corp., AT&T Inc., and Verizon Communications Inc.

“The internet as we know it was developed by taxpayer-funded research, using taxpayer-funded grants in taxpayer-funded labs,” Sanders said in the plan, which was released Friday. “Our tax dollars built the internet and access to it should be a public good for all, not another price gouging profit machine for Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon.”

Sanders said the internet, telecom, and cable companies “exploit their dominant market power to gouge consumers and lobby government at all levels to keep out competition.” He’d mandate providers offer a “basic, quality Internet plan at an affordable price.”

The Sanders plan comes as one of his rivals, Senator Elizabeth Warren, is leading the charge to to break up large tech companies. Warren published an October essay titled “Here’s How We Can Break Up Big Tech,” calling for splitting up Amazon Inc., Facebook Inc., and Google.

AT&T, Verizon and Comcast rose fractionally before regular U.S. trading, with gains of less than 0.5%. -- Elizabeth Wasserman

COMING UP

Joe Biden is on an eight-day, 18-county bus tour of Iowa through Saturday.

Presidential candidates including Biden, Sanders and Pete Buttigieg will participate in a forum hosted by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Saturday.

Warren, Sanders and Biden are scheduled to take part in town hall meetings hosted by UNITE HERE Culinary Workers Union in Las Vegas on Dec. 9-11.

(Michael Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)

--With assistance from Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou and Bill Allison.

To contact the reporter on this story: Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou in Washington at megkolfopoul@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, John Harney

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