Friday September 14, 2012

BOSTON (AP) -- Democratic Senate hopeful Elizabeth Warren is taking direct aim at Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown for the first time in a new television ad.

The 30-second ad features gym owner Art Ramalho who helped train Lowell native Micky Ward, whose life story was the inspiration for the film "The Fighter," starring Boston native Mark Wahlberg.

In the ad, Ramalho calls Warren "a real fighter" and says Brown is on the side of big corporations.

"I don’t know about Scott Brown. He’s been siding with the big-money guys. Tax cuts for millionaires? That’s not going to help people around here," Ramalho says in the ad, which was shot in his West End gym. "I think Scott Brown is with the big corporations."

"Elizabeth is different. She’s fighting for people who are up against it. Working people, the middle class. She got heart, she got guts and she’s not going to back down," he says.

Warren doesn’t speak in the ad, other than to say she approved it.

It’s the first time that either candidate in the closely watched race has named their rival in a television ad.

Brown quickly decried the ad.

"It’s unfortunate that instead of running a campaign that lifts people up, Elizabeth Warren has decided to run a campaign that tears people down," Brown said in a written statement shortly after the ad was unveiled Thursday.

"Her misleading and untrue attacks against me are a sign of desperation from an increasingly desperate and flailing campaign. The people of Massa chusetts deserve and expect better, especially from a first time candidate who initially claimed not to like attack ads," he added.

Brown also sent out a fundraising letter Thursday before the ad was unveiled saying he needed to be prepared for negative ads from Warren.

The ad follows a report last month that Ward, after initially indicating he would support Brown, backed out of an endorsement. The Sun of Lowell reported that Ward changed his mind after he found out Brown was "anti-union" and opposed to gay marriage.

"I can’t support Scott Brown," said Ward, who described himself as a "Teamster guy" according to the paper.

"I found out he’s also against gay marriage, and I say if you love someone you should have the same rights no matter who you are," Ward added.

The new ad marks a shift from earlier Warren ads, which some in her party had criticized as ineffective.

The ad could also mark a new chapter in the race, with polls showing a tight contest and election day less than two months away.

Up until now, Brown has opted for a series of relatively sunny ads, including testimonials from his wife, former television reporter Gail Huff, and a handful of Democratic officials including former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn.

In contrast, Warren, a Harvard law professor, has tended to dive deeper into policy, once citing the nation’s gross domestic product to craft an argument for more infrastructure spending.

The lack of tougher ads up until now has been the result in part of the so-called People’s Pledge signed by both candidates. The deal is intended to discourage outside groups and political action committees from launching attack ads.