COLUMN: Elizabeth Warren's alternative reality

How many wish we could attach a device like a truth meter to politicians? It may keep them honest or, more likely, expose them. In the case of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D.-Mass., it would likely melt down and completely short circuit.

Warren, who has surpassed Joe Biden in some polls as the front-runner for her party's nomination, continues to demonstrate issues with keeping her story straight. It's ironic as the same problem appears to afflict Biden.

This week it appears Warren has been caught making up some details about why she left a teaching job in 1971. Warren has been telling the story on the campaign trail that she was "shown the door" because she was pregnant.

Warren has been very fond of recounting the reason she left her job teaching special needs kids, including as recently as at a rally last week in Carson City, Nev.

“By the end of the first year, I was visibly pregnant, and the principal did what principals did in those days,” she said. “Wished me luck, and hired someone else for the job.”

Prior to making that statement she preceded it, according to a report by Mediate, by explaining how much she loved her job.

“I still remember the 4 to 6-year-olds, I still remember the faces of every one of them,” she said. “I remember some of our lessons, the things we worked on, I remember our successes, and our failures. I loved that work, and I would probably still be doing in that work today, but my story has some more turns.”

Her story does indeed have some turns, but not the ones she wants people to believe. Her story doesn't even jibe with her own previous statements, and it certainly doesn't jibe with records uncovered by the Washington Free Beacon.

Warren had been teaching on an "emergency certificate" and would have needed additional graduate-level classes. But the reason she left the job was a different story she told in 2007 at the University of California, Berkeley.

"I went back to graduate school and took a couple of courses in education and said, 'I don’t think this is going to work out for me.'" Warren said at the time. "And I was pregnant with my first baby, so I had a baby and stayed home for a couple of years, and I was really casting about, thinking, 'What am I going to do?’”

So, the job she "loved" wasn't one she wanted to pursue, if we are to believe the first version of her story.

More damning are records uncovered by the Washington Free Beacon that showed she had been approved for a second-year teaching contract by the Riverdale, N.J., Board of Education. The Free Beacon obtained records of an April 21, 1971 board meeting that shows the board voted unanimously to extend Warren's contract for a second year.

The Free Beacon notes that two months later Warren's resignation was "accepted with regret."

The minutes would certainly appear to back up Warren's original statements, but give lie to her revised campaign stump version.

In and of itself, such apparently intentional misdirection of the truth could be discounted if not delivered by somebody who has established a history of doing just that.

We are all familiar with her being outed for claims of being a Native American, something she perpetuated for years by indicating such as her ethnicity on numerous documents. She famously promoted herself as such in securing a lucrative teaching gig at Harvard.

The Oklahoma native famously defended her assertion of Native American ancestry by the fact her family has "high cheekbones." She further perpetuated the myth by contributing to the "Pow Wow Chow" cookbook of Native American recipes.

She hilariously submitted her DNA for testing, prompted no doubt by President Trump's taunts of sarcastically calling her "Pocahontas." Although in deference to the story of Princess Pocahontas, it would have been more accurate for Trump to refer to her as "Fauxcahontas."

Warren, in a phenomenally tone deaf video, trumpeted the results of the DNA testing. Her test revealed her to be 0.098% Native American. According to a 2014 Harvard study, the average white person has 0.18% Native American DNA. It worked out to her being about 1/1024th Native American, or 10 generations removed.

She was heavily criticized by the Cherokee Nation and she issued an apology for taking the test. Not, mind you, her claims of being Native American to further her academic career by claiming minority status.

Resume puffery is one thing, but years of deception is an indicator of something more troubling and sinister. Now, Warren's latest issues with, shall we say, her alternative reality, raise further questions of her fitness to lead.

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Ruthenberg is a multiple award-winning columnist and writer for the Enid News & Eagle. Contact him at

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