BOSTON (CBS) – Student loans are now front and center in the Massachusetts race for U.S. Senate.

Congress is getting ready to vote on a bill that could curb costs for 160,000 borrowers in Massachusetts alone.

Check: Other Keller @ Large Pieces

They’re called Stafford loans, where low- and middle-income students can put off paying interest until after they graduate.

The Elizabeth Warren campaign is taking to the airwaves in an effort to make an upcoming vote on lowering the cost of those loans into a Senate race issue.

Watch Warren’s ad:

“I’m Elizabeth Warren. I approved this message because Washington has to get its priorities straight,” Warren says in the ad.

In both the new TV ad and at a campaign stop in Quincy on Monday, Warren’s message was both direct and implied: she has her priorities straight, while her opponent apparently does not.

Sen. Scott Brown was on friendly turf on Monday at Harvard Square’s famous Bartley’s Burger Cottage, where they claim his burger, complete with bacon, cheese and chilies is far more popular than the Swiss-cheese and pepper burger named after Warren.

But, with Warren’s pitch being amplified by the Obama campaign this week, what is the meat of Brown’s position was on those Stafford loans?

“Yeah, I’m for (the new bill). It’s something we’ve been working on for awhile,” said Sen. Brown. “It’s nice, obviously, to tackle the interest rate on student loans, but you’ve gotta get costs under control, there’s a much larger picture that we need to address… Everyone knows that the federal government spends too much of our hard-earned money, just look at the GSA scandal.”

The Warren campaign has seemed a bit frustrated in their effort to gain partisan traction on Brown, and this is a classic example of why.

Some of his party leaders claim extending those lower Stafford loan interest rates will add billions to the deficit, but Brown is crossing party lines to say yes to the loans.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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