Gov. Deval Patrick is calling Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown "a Bay State birther" for running television ads focusing on Democratic rival Elizabeth Warren's claims of Native American heritage.  Patrick made the comment during an interview on WCVB-TV.  Asked whether the ads are good political strategy, Patrick, a Democrat, said he hoped not, adding ``Sen. Brown has turned into a Bay State birther.''  The ads suggest Warren used the claims to get hired as a Harvard Law School professor, something she's denied.  A Brown spokesman said Warren could end the issue by releasing more documents.  Patrick's comment refers to so-called ``birthers'' who maintain President Barack Obama was born in Kenya despite the fact that Hawaii officials have repeatedly verified Obama's citizenship.  Warren has said she was told growing up her mother had Native American heritage.

Earlier Thursday, a group of black ministers in Boston gave its blessing to Democratic Senate hopeful Elizabeth Warren.  The Rev. Jeffrey Brown of the Boston TenPoint Coalition said the decision to support Warren came after members met with the candidate and watched the debates between Warren and Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown.  Jeffrey Brown called Brown a ``nice guy'' but said when it comes to challenges facing urban neighborhoods, Warren is the better candidate.  The group, meeting in the city's Roxbury area, then prayed for Warren, who was accompanied by her husband Bruce Mann.  Warren said she welcomed the endorsement.

Also on Thursday, Brown received an award from the National Association of Manufacturing for his support of policies that benefit manufacturing in Massachusetts. (Associated Press)