WASHINGTON -- The 2012 Massachusetts Senate race is stuck in a time warp.
At a campaign event in Boston last week, a Tea Party supporter heckled Warren, the Harvard Law professor and consumer activist who is campaigning for Senate. "Well, if you're the intellectual creator of that so-called party," he said, referring to Occupy Wall Street protesters, "you're a socialist whore. I don't want anything to do with you."
During an interview with ABC News and Yahoo on Tuesday, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) declared Warren "a socialist."
The latest red-baiting came in the form of a Karl Rove-backed attack ad. Released by American GPS, a Rove super PAC, the new ad superimposes an image of Warren over a banner promoting SocialistAlternative.org, a group that supports democratic socialism. An image of Che Guevara later appears on the screen.
Now that Alan Khazei, the only other serious contender for the Democratic nomination,has dropped out of the race, Republicans have made Warren and her pro-consumer policies the target of their attacks.
Warren has made her priorities clear in recent months, highlighting what she views as "the social contract." At an August campaign event, Warren discussed the necessity of social programs, citing education, infrastructure and security as the foundations of American wealth. "There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own," she said.
She has also advocated for workers' rights, stronger trade laws and the tightening of loopholes that favor big business. These pro-regulatory policies are hardly indicative of a socialist agenda; however, they've started to give Wall Street some cause for concern.
As Politico reported last month, bank lobbyists have been gearing up to combat Warren in the upcoming Senate race. However, Wall Street recognizes that any attack on Warren has to be subtle -- and likely channeled through a super PAC like American Crossroads.
According to the FEC filings, Crossroads claims a number of donors from the financial services industry, including Kenneth Griffin, CEO of Citadel. These are individuals who would likely stand to benefit from keeping Scott Brown (R-Mass.) in office. Although Brown is not always an advocate of Wall Street -- he voted for Dodd-Frank, for example -- he certainly is the lesser of two evils in the banks' eyes.
Brown's campaign has also seen an influx of cash from the financial industry. His top donors include Fidelity Mutual, Goldman Sachs and Barclays.
Warren's campaign sent out a response to the American Crossroads ad on Thursday afternoon, highlighting the Wall Street connection. "Rove and his Wall Street billionaire buddies have joined together to attack Elizabeth because she stood up to them. She's spent years fighting for the middle class and trying to get accountability for those who broke our economy one lousy mortgage at a time, and they know what they'll be in for if she wins," the campaign said. "That's why they're pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into TV attack ads against Elizabeth all across Massachusetts. And we're not going to sit back and take it."