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. oh my goodness.

    "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." Her and Reid own the Senate, what a turd.
    And who ever wrote this drivel Sure Love Liz Warren of that there is no doubt, her butt was thoroughly kissed in this article.

    July 15, 2014 05:25 am at 5:25 am |
  2. clarencewhorley

    Please Democrats, run Senator Pocahontas for President.

    July 15, 2014 05:30 am at 5:30 am |
  3. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Can't wait to see Thad Cochran,Kevin McCarthy,Thom Tillis,Sheldon Adelson,Rupert Mourdoch,Karl Rove,Lindsey Graham,John McCain,Susan Collins,Hayley Barbour,Grover Norquist and the GOP stuff Jeb Bush down the tea party's throats EXACTLY like they stuffed Romney down. Straight no chaser. Hillary and Liz will drink to that!

    July 15, 2014 05:34 am at 5:34 am |
  4. Jim Rome

    It's just amazing that a statesman is putting corporations in perspective. Corporate profits are important, but not at the expense of workers' rights, and in the case of defense corporations, not at the expense of sanity.

    July 15, 2014 05:35 am at 5:35 am |
  5. Commonsense

    A woman who LIED on her school applications, calling herself "native American" to get preferential admission, despite no documented evidence to the contrary, who has been told by the chief Cherokee genealogist to stop lying because there is no record of any Cherokee bloodline?

    Yes, that's the perfect Democrat champion. Lie, cheat and steal to get ahead. Their mantra.

    July 15, 2014 05:37 am at 5:37 am |
  6. Ron Wilson

    Is she still claiming to be a Cherokee Indian? It was clearly part of her narrative when pursuing positions at Harvard. Was just curious if she was still using this as part of her populist narrative now.

    July 15, 2014 05:40 am at 5:40 am |
  7. Bluec

    Perhaps Comrade Lying Squaw can do a rain dance and rain on Wall Streets parade. : /

    July 15, 2014 05:42 am at 5:42 am |
  8. Honeybadger

    "reigning champion of progressives everywhere"
    That's like being the smartest person with down syndrome.

    July 15, 2014 05:42 am at 5:42 am |
  9. CMoffatt

    And the lame stream media will now try to sell us Fauxahontas in place of The Messiah! How much liberal Democratic destruction do they expect the American people to buy?

    July 15, 2014 05:43 am at 5:43 am |
  10. Diesel Boatman

    Here we go again. Warren is less accomplished than BHO was when he showed up out of nowhere without any verifiable credentials/accomplishments. At least with Warren we'd get a native American.

    July 15, 2014 05:44 am at 5:44 am |
  11. Roger

    Warren is an empty headed phoney. The people of Mass strike again Whats wrong with you Mass Morons? Jhn Kerry,Barney Frank Ted Kennedy....E.Warren? Idiots!!

    July 15, 2014 05:50 am at 5:50 am |
  12. Pat

    Socialism works as long as warren does not run out of other people's money. How about some plan to create jobs instead of stealing from working taxpayers to help the irresponsible. Also, why not take on the liberal college establishment and talk about the obscene tuition they charge. Has she said anything about over paid liberal college professors who are paid a bloated salary and never show up to teach a course? How about the overpaid college deans? Why is a charge for the sports teams included in tuition? Liberals such as warren only blame corporations for everything they perceive wrong with this country. They never mention liberal institutions that rip off the public because that is their base of support.

    July 15, 2014 05:51 am at 5:51 am |
  13. TheHighForester

    Elizabeth Warren is a breath of fresh air in a corrupt Senate. We really do need more Senators and Representatives who work for the people, not for the big-money interests.

    July 15, 2014 05:52 am at 5:52 am |
  14. paul

    why in the world would anyone in the great state of West Virginia support a candidate , either party, who is in favor of destroying the coal industry..??? who is in favor of killer EPA regulations ? .. that makes no sense at all.. Warren is a slick willy in a lady suit... she is smart and she is crafty , and she is a far left nut case. she says all the right stuff.. kinda like Obama did.. but the drive she exhibits is supported by big business from the very folks she is talking against.. we have had enough of the double talk..

    July 15, 2014 05:55 am at 5:55 am |
  15. Bob

    Eliabeth Warren? Oh well, this country has become a joke anyway so why not.

    July 15, 2014 05:55 am at 5:55 am |
  16. livefreeordie

    I like this lady but I think her glory will be short lived. Anyone of authority who speaks out against the abuses and corruption of our current corporate run world usually end up having weird accidents or coming down with questionable illnesses. The crooks at the top have worked too hard for too long rigging the system to just give it all up. They will fight to the death to keep what they have "legally" stolen.

    July 15, 2014 05:56 am at 5:56 am |
  17. sanityisrare

    Hillary "Light" ....next...

    July 15, 2014 05:57 am at 5:57 am |
  18. Guest

    Is this the woman who is 1/32 native American.

    July 15, 2014 05:57 am at 5:57 am |
  19. Bill

    Warren is a one percenter.

    July 15, 2014 05:59 am at 5:59 am |
  20. Barb

    Surely you jest?

    July 15, 2014 06:00 am at 6:00 am |
  21. derekcrane

    If you like Obama, you will just love Warren. Wah-hoo-wah!

    July 15, 2014 06:03 am at 6:03 am |
  22. olswamp

    what has this woman done to show that she would make a good president. she has no expience what so ever. her only claim to fame is her minute amount of cherokee blood she used to get a job at harvard. this country needs someone with some experience to be able to fix its serious problems. we have already had a community organizer who had no experience and look what that has got us

    July 15, 2014 06:05 am at 6:05 am |
  23. JT

    First American Indian President!!!

    July 15, 2014 06:06 am at 6:06 am |
  24. america 1

    Unbelievable how uninformed, or short people's memories appear to be. You think she cares about you?????

    July 15, 2014 06:06 am at 6:06 am |
  25. aselden12

    OH, now the demonrats bring in another progressive talking against Wall Street whom they have worked side by side! All they do is lie and tell the voters they have American citizens will at heart. Elizabeth Warren is a known liar and she will be on the campaign trail to get the women's vote. Theree will be UNINTELLIGENT women who will fall for this socialists lies just as they did obamas.The Democrat Party is all about power and money! They do not want to do the "Will of the People" and I pray voters do not fall their agenda.

    July 15, 2014 06:11 am at 6:11 am |
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