By Adam Reilly
Jan. 17, 2012
BOSTON — Not long ago, eight Democrats wanted to challenge Republican Scott Brown this fall for one of the state's two Senate seats. But as soon as Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Warren jumped into the race, her rivals started bowing out. Now the Democratic field is down to just three people: Warren, Dover attorney Jim King and Middleton attorney Marisa DeFranco — who hasn’t been shy about attacking the frontrunner.
During a December debate, Warren was asked if the Occupy Boston protesters should be allowed to camp out all winter. She responded that everyone should follow the law. That led to a sharp exchange with DeFranco.
"When you say that everyone has to follow the law it actually bothers me because it makes a presumption that people are breaking the law," DeFranco said.
"No, it doesn’t," Warren said.
DeFranco continued, "Yes, it does. And you know what — let me finish — Rosa Parks broke the law. There is such a thing as a tradition in this country called civil disobedience."
In a conversation on "Greater Boston," DeFranco explained her challenge to Warren by saying she'd always been frustrated when politicians gave questions the runaround: "I think people just want to know what you're thinking, what your plan is and to have a direct answer," she said.
She was direct about her message: "I believe in FDR-style New Deal investment to create jobs because the private sector is not doing it. They are sitting on $2 trillion worth of profits... and once the government does that investment, the private sector will pick up."
The child of now-retired health care providers, DeFranco also supports "getting serious about single-payer health care," which she thinks would improve service and lower costs.
But can she have a chance against Warren, she of the nearly $9 million war chest? "The first thing the press asks you is how much money do you have. They don't ask about issues. They don't ask about substance," DeFranco said. "And what I say to the press is, give me equal access and give me equal time that you've given to other candidates and see if my message resonates... I can beat her that way."
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