BOSTON (AP) — Sen. Scott Brown said Thursday that he’s held secret meetings with “kings and queens” and other top leaders during his time in the U.S. Senate. An aide said Brown misspoke when referring to meetings with kings and queens.
The Massachusetts Republican made the comment during an interview Thursday on WTKK-FM, after being asked if it was time to move beyond questions about Democratic rival Elizabeth Warren’s claims of Native American heritage to discuss other issues.
Brown renewed his criticism of Warren, but also defended his work as a senator.
“Each and every day that I’ve been a United States senator, I’ve been either discussing issues, meeting on issues, in secret meetings and with kings and queens and prime ministers and business leaders and military leaders, talking, voting, working on issues every single day,” Brown said.
Brown did not elaborate.
When asked for further explanation about the secret meetings, a campaign spokesman said Brown was “referring generally to private meetings with foreign and domestic leaders.”
“He misspoke when he said kings and queens,” Brown campaign aide Colin Reed said.
Democrats were quick to jump on the comment.
The head of the state Democratic Party called on Brown to release a list of his secret meetings.
“If Scott Brown rests the substance of his campaign on meeting with royalty, he should tell the people of Massachusetts who he met with and what they talked about,” said Massachusetts Democratic Party Chairman John Walsh. “I had no idea Scott Brown was friends with so many kings and queens.”
Democrats also said the comment echoed remarks Brown made last year in multiple television interviews when he had “seen the photos” of Osama Bin Laden’s corpse, and that they were bloody and gruesome.
Brown had suggested he saw the photos during an official briefing, but later acknowledged that he had been duped and that the photos were “not authentic.”
During Thursday’s interview, Brown also defended a Republican-led U.S. House probe into the botched “Fast and Furious” gun-tracking operation. Two of the guns in the operation were found at the scene of the slaying of U.S. border agent Brian Terry.
On Wednesday, a House committee voted to hold the Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt, and President Barack Obama invoked executive privilege to avoid turning over some documents related to the operation.
“The administration should be open and transparent so they can get to the facts because not only do Americans deserve answers, but more importantly the family of the slain officer, they deserve answers,” Brown said.
Also Thursday, Warren and retiring U.S. Rep. Barney Frank held a conference call with reporters to accuse Brown and other Republicans in Congress of what Warren called “back-door attempts to undermine Wall Street reform.”
Frank, a Democrat, said if Republicans gained control of the U.S. Senate after the November election, the financial regulations law he helped author two years ago would be in jeopardy.
Frank and Warren pointed to opposition from House Republicans to provide additional resources to regulatory agencies such as Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Asked how Brown specifically was working to weaken Wall Street oversight, Warren pointed to a recent report in The Boston Globe that a top Brown aide had sent emails to U.S Treasury officials advocating for a less stringent interpretation of the “Volker rule,” a provision of the law meant to bar commercial banks from making certain risky investments.
While Democrats have derided Brown as a “favorite senator” of Wall Street, the Republican has pointed out that he cast a decisive vote in the Senate in favor of the Dodd-Frank bill.
Frank said he worked cooperatively with Brown prior to passage of the bill, and that both sought to protect Massachusetts institutions that had not been accused of serious wrongdoing in the financial crisis from some of the most punitive aspects of the law.
Associated Press writer Bob Salsberg contributed to this report.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.