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Warren takes a pounding but keeps on ticking

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Elizabeth Warren continues to take a pounding about her alleged Native American ancestry, but does it matter?

A poll released this week by David Paleologos of Suffolk University indicates Warren and US Sen. Scott Brown are still running neck and neck (48 percent Brown to 47 percent Warren), indicating that voters don’t care about Pocohontas-gate and/or that Warren’s TV ad buys are trumping media coverage of her ancestry issues.

The Paleologos poll was a big gift to Warren, both for what it contained and for how it was reported by most media outlets. The Globe compared the latest results to Paleologos’s previous poll in February, which showed Warren trailing Brown 49-40, and concluded that Warren had actually made gains over the last few months. Radio Boston said the Suffolk poll showed Warren closing the gap.

More likely, the earlier Paleologos poll was off the mark and the race has been close since December. The Huffington Post, which follows polling closely, reports that the February Paleologos poll asked a series of questions just before the voter preference measure, which may have inflated Brown’s standing. The format of the February poll even drew criticism from Brown’s pollster.

On the Indian issue, the latest Suffolk poll found that nearly three-quarters of voters were aware of Warren’s ancestry issues. Yet when asked if Warren was telling the truth about her Native American background, 49 percent said yes and 28 percent said no. Only 27 percent indicated the issue was a “significant story.”

But that didn’t stop the media barrage from continuing. The Globe, in a front-page story today, raised serious questions about how Warren and Harvard handled her alleged Native American ancestry. And Warren, at a campaign stop in Brookline, looked almost comical as she tried to stay on message as reporters asked her over and over again about her ancestry.

WBUR carried a story but no audio of the back and forth while NECN, in a setup before an interview with Paleologos, gives a good flavor of the exchanges. At one point, with WHDH-TV’s Andy Hiller in her face, Warren says she is proud of her family and proud of her heritage.

Does it include Indian background? Hiller asks.

“Yes, yes,” Warren responds.

“How do you know?” Hiller asks.

“Because my mother told me so. This is how I live.” she says.

                                                                                                                                                            --BRUCE MOHL


BEACON HILL

Lawmakers on Beacon Hill scrambled to loosen eligibility rules for being a Gateway City as municipalities vie for the goodies that come with the designation, CommonWealth reports.

The Herald applauds the state’s decision to seek a new commuter rail contract, rather than bringing operations in-house.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

A Hanover resident who received four write-in votes for one of two open seats on the housing authority declined the post. The first-place vote-getter with seven write-ins accepted.

Nasty as they want to be: The Berkshire Eagle says small town politics has gotten too “nasty” in the region, which may dissuade people for running for office.

The Residency Compliance Commission in Lynn votes 4-1 to appeal a court decision that said a residency requirement for police officers is subject to collective bargaining, the Daily Item reports.

Boxford cows prefer Bud Light, the Salem News reports.

A plagiarism scandal is engulfing Seekonk’s former superintendent, who abruptly quit last week.

The state takes its second round of bids to redevelop the Middlesex jail in Cambridge.

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says the state is moving ahead with its plan to allow sports betting at casinos and racetracks, setting up a legal showdown with the federal government and the National Football League, NorthJersey.com reports.

ELECTION 2012

Greater Boston talks to Richard Tisei about his chances in the 6th Congressional District race, where many observers feel he gives the GOP the best shot at capturing one of the state’s nine House seats.

The National Review says unleash The Biden. And hide the women and children.

Mitt Romney could face trouble winning over New Hampshire independents, reports the Globe. The New York Times reports on Romney’s staggering unpopularity in Massachusetts. The Phoenix’s David Bernstein kicks Romney on Al Sharpton’s TV show. Donald Trump plays Romney’s George Clooney.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

It could be the end of the line for Curt Schilling’s Rhode Island-based 38 Studios video game company, which laid off its entire staff yesterday amid mounting financial problems.  NECN’s Peter Howe offers an overview of what’s gone wrong. Charlie Chieppo, writing for Governing, says a Massachusetts commission may have hit on a way of reining in the tax credit mania that swept up Rhode Island by pushing for fewer and less generous tax breaks and greater scrutiny of them.

The Weekly Standard says not all employment indicators are worth following, just, apparently, the ones that cast President Obama in a negative light.

More than one in five Massachusetts mortgages are underwater, according to a survey by the real estate site Zillow, but that’s still better than the national average of one in three. But The MetroWest Daily News sees cause to celebrate signs of a recovery based on housing sales. Meanwhile, Mass Insight’s Consumer Confidence Index rose slightly to 85 but that’s still in negative territory, though far above the national index of 69.

EDUCATION

The appointed Boston School Committee, often criticized as a rubber stamp for the mayor and school superintendent, gave Superintendent Carol Johnson low marks in several areas in a January performance evaluation obtained by the Globe under a public records request.

New Bedford city councilors are skeptical about the mayor’s plan to transfer $1 million from the general budget to the troubled school system.

The State Auditor’s office is also looking into allegations that Roxbury Community College has failed to accurately report crime incidents on its campus.  Federal officials previously confirmed they are examining the school’s compliance with federally mandated crime reporting rules.

The U.S. Senate is still “stuck” on what to do about interest rates on student loans. But Christian Science Monitor report finds evidence that a deal will get done before the looming July 1 deadline.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

The departing NRC chairman has voted against renewing Pilgrim nuclear power plant’s license but his comments released yesterday regarding his vote indicate other members of the commission are in favor of issuing a third 20-year license to the plant’s owner.

Fall River received a $400,000 brownfield grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to help assess and clean up contaminated property near the city’s waterfront.

The surplus of natural gas on the market brings to a halt the search for more in Michigan, the Detroit News reports.

CommonWealth reports on the whole story behind Newton’s green pledge.

MEDIA

The Times-Picayune says it will publish a print edition on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, making New Orleans the largest US city without a daily print publication, the Poynter Institute reports. Meanwhile, the Denver Post thinks copy desks are overrated, anyway.

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