The papers did, however, have to report when MassGOP Chairman Bob Maginn sent a letter to Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust in May, accusing Warren of "academic fraud" concerning her Cherokee claims.

The state party, and the Brown campaign, are clearly not willing to set any standard of behavior.

As for the right-wing smear machinery, they will keep churning out material, which will seep into the state through the blogosphere, direct mail (which is not included in the Warren-Brown "People's Pledge" against third-party campaign spending), and radio. That's what they do — as Massachusetts is about to learn all too well.

To read the Talking Politics blog, go to thePhoenix.com/talkingpolitics. David S. Bernstein can be reached at dbernstein@phx.com. Follow him on Twitter @dbernstein.

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