Uh Oh: Elizabeth Warren Admits She Identified as a Native American

Posted: May 31, 2012 5:12 PM

Hey, remember when the Boston Herald discovered Harvard Law School once touted Elizabeth Warren as a Native American when, according to her own campaign, she never authorized them to do so? Well, apparently she did.

Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren acknowledged for the first time late Wednesday night that she told Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania that she was Native American, but she continued to insist that race played no role in her recruitment.

“At some point after I was hired by them, I . . . provided that information to the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard,’’ she said in a statement issued by her campaign. “My Native American heritage is part of who I am, I’m proud of it and I have been open about it.’’

Warren’s statement is her first acknowledgment that she identified herself as Native American to the Ivy League schools. While she has said she identified herself as a minority in a legal directory, she has carefully avoided any suggestion during the last month that she took further actions to promote her purported heritage.

Setting aside the fact Professor Warren still can’t back up her 1/32 Cherokee heritage claim with a single shred of verifiable evidence, whether or not race played a role in her recruitment is irrelevant. Remember, the Warren camp initially told reporters she did not know Harvard Law School was touting her as an ethnic minority until she read about it in the Boston Herald. Now, however, she’s made a full reversal -- admitting she “provided that information” to at least two Ivy League institutions. As might be expected, Team Warren offered a somewhat tenuous explanation for why she was stonewalling the investigation and evading questions from the media.

The official further said that Warren had been unable to answer questions about the issue before now because she had forgotten many of the details and had asked her campaign to thoroughly review the evidence. The campaign declined to say whether Warren provided the information to Harvard and Penn verbally or by checking a box on a form.

This so-called “explanation” will be a difficult sell to voters. While recent polls suggest Elizabeth Warren has been virtually unscathed by the lingering “fauxcahontas” scandal, I imagine they still care deeply about the integrity and character of their elected officials. Needless to say, this controversy is far from over (although the Boston Globe once asserted otherwise) and will continue – I suspect – to dog her every step until Election Day.