July 14th, 2014
06:27 PM ET
5 years ago

Elizabeth Warren bashes Wall Street in West Virginia

Shepherdstown, West Virginia (CNN) – Elizabeth Warren doesn’t roll deep.

The Massachusetts senator and reigning champion of progressives everywhere arrived right on time Monday afternoon for a campaign event in West Virginia, this one for Democratic Senate hopeful Natalie Tennant, Warren’s latest stop in a national political tour boosting 2014 candidates. Her slight frame slid gingerly out of the passenger side of a blue SUV – her own car, with Bay State plates – and she greeted a volunteer with a golly-gee smile.

“Oh! Looks like it started to sprinkle out here!” Warren said, peeking up at the sky.

There was no entourage, no security detail. Just an aide left behind to park the car. Not knowing where to go, Warren wandered right into the side entrance of the Clarion Hotel in Shepherdstown and strode up to a police officer standing idly.

“Hi, I’m Elizabeth Warren, the senator from Massachusetts,” she said matter-of-factly.

“Well it’s nice to meet you!” the officer replied. Her aide arrived, conveniently in time to box out an advancing reporter, and escorted her down a hallway.

The low-key arrival was not, it turns out, an indicator of the reception she would receive inside.

In a ballroom packed with nearly 400 West Virginians, Warren was greeted like a bona fide celebrity, met with multiple standing ovations, a cascade of selfie attempts and a few shouts of “2016!”

What followed was a pugnacious and folksy speech packed with the kind of full-bodied populist rhetoric that has thrust her into 2016 presidential conversation alongside Hillary Clinton – whether she wants to be there or not.

“The way I see this, Citibank, Goldman Sachs, all those other guys on Wall Street, they’ve got plenty of folks in the United State Senate willing to work on their side,” she said, jabbing her hands into the air to make her points. “We need more people in the U.S. Senate willing to work on the side of America’s families.”

Tennant, she said, “is strong, she is independent, and she won’t let anybody roll over her.”

Warren talked about her working class upbringing in Oklahoma, telling the story of her mother taking on a minimum wage job at Sears, an effort to save their home after her ill father could no longer work. She humble-bragged about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – the “little consumer agency” she helped launch – noting that it’s already recovered $4 billion from banks and credit card companies for American customers. And she bashed Republican opposition to her student loan bill, which would have lowered interest rates but was blocked in the Senate, saying the GOP’s first priority is defending big banks.

“The Republicans say no to raising the minimum wage, they say no to equal pay for equal work, they say we have to cut Social Security in order to make our budget balanced, they say no to those pension promises,” Warren said sternly. “They say it’s more important to stand up for Wall Street than it is to stand up for families across this county. Well I tell you what. They can say it, but they are going to lose.”

That the country’s most famous liberal showed up here, in a conservative-trending state that hasn’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1996 despite its deep Democratic roots, was a bit unusual.

Tennant, trailing her Republican opponent Shelly Moore Capito by 10 points in the polls, has been distancing herself from President Obama throughout her campaign, pushing back most recently against new Environmental Protection Agency’s rules aimed at reducing coal emissions by 30% over the next 15 years. Tennant on Monday went so far as to call the regulations “disgusting.”

But Warren, too, has praised the EPA proposal – putting Tennant in the tricky spot of explaining why she would appear with Warren but not the President. Tennant gamely tried to defuse the situation in a session with reporters, many of whom made the short drive from Washington to the state’s eastern panhandle.

“We don’t agree on everything,” Tennant said. “We are here today to talk about education, about lifting the middle class, about saying no to Wall Street.” As for Obama? “If the President came to West Virginia, he would have a lot of explaining to do when it comes to these energy jobs and our coal jobs,” Tennant said.

She framed her speech the same way – embracing Warren’s middle class populism in full, but distancing herself from anything touching on Obama and coal.

Tennant was rolling out a new education plan and lavished praise on Warren’s student loan reform bill. More than once, she blasted “corporate greed” – and threw darts at House Republicans for proposing Medicare cuts and allowing unemployment benefits to expire last year. Those were none-too-subtle jabs aimed at Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, who was five hours away in Charleston campaigning for Capito, an effort to steal some of Warren’s earned media thunder.

“Washington was all too happy to help out Wall Street but when our friends and neighbors in West Virginia needed a helping hand when they were looking for work, Washington had no help for them,” Tennant said.

That was just the warm-up act. Warren was the main event, attracting an adoring audience that included a number of high school and college students who said they appreciated her student loan push.

Without prompting, others said they hoped she would seek the Democratic presidential nomination.

“She speaks up for the underdog,” said Warren McKimmie, a self-described liberal from Harper’s Ferry. “She is the only one who speaks up for the underdog. I am very torn because I want a Democrat in the White House, but I’m not sure its Hillary. To me she would be more of the same. Warren is a fighter for us.”

On the way to her car after the rally, Warren was asked how it felt to be met by such friendly audiences on the campaign trail. Similar crowds have met her in Kentucky and Oregon and Ohio – and she’s a shoo-in for a standing ovation at the liberal Netroots Nation conference later this week in Detroit.

“People understand what’s going on,” Warren said. “They know what’s at stake in the races in 2014, and they are willing to get out there and fight. That’s what I see in those crowds. That’s what I love in those crowds.”

Before reporters could follow up with other questions, Jane Yearout – the head of the Berkeley County Democratic Party – ran up to her car screaming. Like Warren, she said was an Oklahoma native, and she wanted a hug. Warren gave her one, then departed.


Filed under: Elizabeth Warren • West Virginia
soundoff (922 Responses)
  1. J Anthony

    Intentionally misleading headline. No "bashing'" going on whatsoever,, just some common knowledge with a little fluff.. Warren would be more convincing if she challenged both parties equally...In the meantime, what will be done about it?....

    July 14, 2014 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    Warren is the most lunatic person in Washington. Remember........she thinks all kids who want to attend college should be paid for by the government, and they should not have to pay any interest on the loans, and after 20 yrs. any unpaid balance should be written off.

    That is lunacy. The public cannot fund every kid who wants a college education. That's just lunacy.

    Her other ideas, are even crazier.

    July 14, 2014 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  3. Gunderson

    Give 'em Hell, Elizabeth. How dare those Wall Street Companies Build the Country up and make people successful. More Welfare, More Food Stamps, no jobs, more debt, Give 'em hell Elizabeth !!

    July 14, 2014 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  4. Thomas

    The Banks don't care , ask Ted Cruz .

    Or Ted's wife .

    July 14, 2014 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  5. neutral observer

    If affirmative action were really to correct past injustices, this woman would have been busted for claiming it. I guess the female "card" wasn't enough. If people really looked into her past, they'd see she was a firm supporter of the corporate world she so loudly rails against.

    July 14, 2014 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  6. independant jim

    I would love to see Ms Warren run for president .. We need an honest leader ..someone thatis not interested in creating wealth for themselves

    July 14, 2014 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  7. fjyj

    Wall Street, long over do overhaul.

    July 14, 2014 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  8. WTHWTH

    I just love it when multi-millionaires stand in front of crowds and try to curry votes by pretending to be sympathetic for the common man. I wonder if Warren practices her speeches on the hired help at her mansion?

    July 14, 2014 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  9. hkirwin

    Another old liberal gal with a vivid imagination that frequently plays loose with the truth.

    July 14, 2014 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  10. Evan

    It's nice to know there are still actual progressives in our government.

    July 14, 2014 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  11. Kristina Wallace

    She's a millionaire and she is bashing Wall Street. How did she make her money? Did a fairy bring it to her?

    July 14, 2014 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  12. miguel

    Cherokee Liz worth over $10M feels for the common man....

    July 14, 2014 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  13. Fred Freddington

    Elizabeth Warren bashes Wall Street? This is news?

    July 14, 2014 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  14. hazel motes

    Biting the hand that feeds it.

    July 14, 2014 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  15. Randy, San Francisco

    Elizabeth Warren is worthy of presidential consideration with her populist message. If Hillary decides not to run, Warren will rocket up to the A list of candidates.

    July 14, 2014 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  16. Francisco Escobedo

    Fake! Where can I find who has donated to her campaign? When all is set and done, you will see that she will get a lot of money from WallStreet.

    July 14, 2014 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  17. Duke LaCroix

    Elizabeth Warren is the greatest fraud of the 21st century.

    It only makes sense she would be the current democrat rockstar.

    July 14, 2014 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  18. Foggyworld

    Well, it's not the baby blue eyes ….. so it must be the high cheekbones.

    July 14, 2014 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  19. DC Johnny

    “The Republicans say no to raising the minimum wage" - In a time with record low labor participation, people need jobs. Minimum wage hikes kill jobs. It's that simple.

    "they say no to equal pay for equal work" - No, they don't. The current laws on the books already outlaw discrimination based on gender. They don't acknowledge a narrative creating a phony war on women.

    "they say we have to cut Social Security in order to make our budget balanced" - No, that would be the non-partisan actuary of Social Security itself, who says the program is entirely unsustainable without dramatic changes.

    "they say no to those pension promises” - You mean like Democrats, who slash military benefits and promises?

    "They can say it, but they are going to lose" - Even the most optimistic of Democrats knows this is not true. The country is waking up to the sad realization that liberal policy does not improve American lives.

    She is a walking, talking lie. And it all started with pretending she was Native American to get into college. She fits right in with the leftists in power.

    July 14, 2014 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  20. RRNJ-WhackJob

    Elizabeth Warren is a rarity in politics these days: a truly principled, honest, fighter for the people. She's not corrupted by big money... Wall St., Big Oil & Gas, the Washington lobby... none of them have gotten into her pockets – and they never will. I almost feel as if she's too good for this country... we'll never elect her, because we don't deserve it.

    July 14, 2014 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  21. Nasty Porklosi

    It's about time we get an albino female of Cherokee origin in the White House because it would be the politically correct thing to do...I mean who doesn't want four or eight more years of social justice, open borders, military downsizing, NSA spying, DHS harassment of American Citizens, IRS illegal and unconstitutional activity and bigger government where the only people that really benefit are those that are politically connected?

    July 14, 2014 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  22. SunnyvaleKen

    That's more of the same old Democrat pabulum (BS) for the same fools who vote Democrat every election.

    July 14, 2014 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  23. kenlevens

    Elizabeth Warren should be our next President. Let's go grassroots and bypass the corporate media and the heads of the Democratic Party. How? Buy reading E. W.'s book; "A Fighting Chance." If you like it, buy three more copies and share with family, friends, local library,local senior center, or a collge.

    July 14, 2014 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  24. Doug from Seattle

    I'd vote for Elizabeth over Hillary in a heartbeat, as every wage working American should!

    July 14, 2014 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  25. Donnie the Lion

    The Wall Street financial "experts" (experts in rigging the system to make themselves a ton of money) cry about regulation....they aren't regualted nearly enough! They don't care two bits about America other than how to exploit it for personal gain. Christians should be outraged.....remember Jesus and the two coats? These dudes have ten thousand coats and want more.

    July 14, 2014 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
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