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. Marie MD

    Warren really cares about the middle class and would be a good presidential candidate if it came to that.

    July 15, 2014 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
  2. Undersiege

    ...Work with the people... blah, blah, blah, Look, a politician's lips are moving, lies, lies, lies. 1. LOCK THE DAMN BORDER DOWN. 2. NOTHING ELSE REALLY MATTERS AT THIS POINT.

    July 15, 2014 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  3. Don Hancock

    Warren the new rock star of the democrat party? hardly enough to save Tennant from certain failure in the upcoming election.
    Ms. Tennant can't possibly run further to the left of Shelly Capito and still be elected in West Virginia. Shelly Capito is actually pretty far left herself, further left that Sen. Joe Manchin actually.
    Tennant, the former TV news anchor, routinely embarrasses herself on the only statewide talk radio show hosted by Hoppy Kerchevel by refusing to answer questions on the 2nd amendment and Obamacare. If the national media thought Sara Palin was stupid then what in the world will they think about this former sports team mascot- I doubt Tennant even knows Ohio can be seen from the West Virginia side of the Ohio River.

    July 15, 2014 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  4. JTR

    Elizabeth Warren and her Native American Ancestry.....Right?

    July 15, 2014 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  5. JW

    Just another democrat who lied to get an advantage. That's just what we need.

    July 15, 2014 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  6. tmr

    Ahhhhh, the next Obama.......Elizabeth "spreading Bull" Warren, bring out the recycled greek columns......

    July 15, 2014 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  7. Capt. Jerry Hulick

    If this is the best that the libs.can bring to the big game then run her. It's going to be nice to see the libs. get their asses kicked big time

    July 15, 2014 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  8. schm0e

    And when she begins reciting "her" plan to solve the illegal immigration "crisis", all we be made clear.

    July 15, 2014 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  9. john

    her constant railing against the "rich" and people that game the system falls flat since the fake indian and her husband each earned $360,000 for teaching ONE course a semester at Harvard. She was on the fast track to nowhere in the 1990's until she checked the box for native American. She is the only Non-Harvard grad teaching at the school. TOTAL FRAUD.

    July 15, 2014 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  10. Kawanee

    Here's how I see this....Liz (Pocahontas) Warren has been instructed by the DNC to take every photo opportunity possible in order to get her extreme left Marxist rants out there in order to make Hillary look like a centrists and thus ensure her election. This is overkill, as the dems and BHO in particular have already defined the successful election template: you give 51% of the low-information voters free stuff while pushing the Alinshky agenda to keep the red diaper doper trust fund babies in the fold!. God save us from this faux Indian princess. Remember that she lives in a 5.4 mil estate, and has used affirmative action to get a professorship. Isn't one affirmative action President enouth?

    July 15, 2014 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  11. Lyndaloo

    The main steam media will make SURE this socialist will become the new Obama. For the next two years she will be lauded as the savior to our nation and the world just as Obama once was. In reality Warren is a mini Obama – in fact SHE may be worse If you can believe a "leader" can get worse, as she claims the roads you travelled on your climb to success is ALL due to big government. (Remember big government is nothing but bureaucrats many/most of whom are unelected – such as the ones who run our VA Hospitals, the IRS, NSA, Homeland Security, Dept of Justice to name a few). IF you CAN remember all of these big government septs & the politicians on the left (democrats) are the ones who have over the las six years destroyed our healthcare, our VA Hospitals, spied on us, targeting us, and left our horders open and our nation at rick. Warren will blame republicans even though they have NO power. They may hold the purse strings but remember Obama has used his PEN & PHONE or ignored problems that HE/democrats have created. Another democrat for president? I DON'T THINK SO! Surely the American people will NOT be duped again by the media and the lies!

    July 15, 2014 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  12. MikeC

    Elizabeth is not very smart and makes a lot conclusions based anecdotal comments. During a congressional hearing she called Citibank a foreign bank because it does business outside the U.S.

    July 15, 2014 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  13. Anonymous

    This Indian needs to go back to the reservation and stay the H away from us. Warren is a poster child for what is truly wrong with America today. She has made a fortune in Academia while helping thousands of other professional, professor leaches wrack up millions of dollars of student loan debt for college graduates with no future and amounts of money owed that are too large to pay back. She is an Obama clone and should be shunned.

    July 15, 2014 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  14. Stevie D

    Go Warren Go!

    July 15, 2014 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  15. Lyndaloo

    The main steam media will make SURE this socialist will become the new Obama. For the next two years she will be lauded as the savior to our nation and the world just as Obama once was. In reality Warren is a mini Obama – in fact SHE may be worse If you can believe a "leader" can get worse, as she claims the roads you travelled on your climb to success is ALL due to big government. (Remember big government is nothing but bureaucrats many/most of whom are unelected – such as the ones who run our VA Hospitals, the IRS, NSA, Homeland Security, Dept of Justice to name a few). IF you will remember – alll of these big government depts & the politicians on the left (democrats) are the ones who have over the last six years destroyed our healthcare, our VA Hospitals, spied on us, targeting us, and left our borders open and our nation at risk. Warren will blame republicans even though they have NO power. They may hold the purse strings but remember Obama has used his PEN & PHONE or ignored problems that HE/democrats have created. Another democrat for president? I DON'T THINK SO! Surely the American people will NOT be duped again by the media and the lies!

    July 15, 2014 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  16. Keith

    If half of the democrat voters knew anything about issues, there would never be another democrat elected.

    July 15, 2014 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  17. Ron

    she's a socialist, people should run far away from this chick, and all democrats. look what they have done to this country in almost 6 years. they democrats are killing the USA....

    July 15, 2014 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  18. Joe Drager

    Typical socialist. Luckily the current socialist in the White House has proven well Margaret Thatcher's comment on socialism – it works fine until you run out of other people's money.

    July 15, 2014 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  19. deep45

    Bashing Wall Street and banks is most definitely a setup to use against the Clinton's. Social Security, War on Woman, Benefit cuts typical playbook. Neither side can resolve the issues because both sides only care about winning and the speaking/book deals which come afterwards.

    July 15, 2014 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  20. DutchUncle

    Yeah, if you want ANOTHER administration JUST LIKE this one,,,then vote for this Socialist. She will rob the workers, Give the money to the NON-workers and we will have another USSR in no time. Go visit Cuba and ask yourself, do I want to live like this,,,if you are normal you will say HELL NO! Listen to her rantings on youtube, she is a Female Obama. Lies about her heritage, wants total control over our lives, has little to NO morals and loves to see working people suffer.

    July 15, 2014 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  21. D Babcock

    Really? Another candidate that lies about her heritage to secure a position at Harvard and absolutely zero useable experience running for President?

    July 15, 2014 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  22. DWEBSTER

    Another empty suit , ivory tower liberal spewing trite slogans but lacking any concrete plans to deal with the nations problems. Add on top of that her tendency to slip into a fairy tale version of her life as a child and we have a white female version of another Obama in the making. The nation needs real leadership, not another wind bag.

    July 15, 2014 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  23. Jo Byden

    We need a blond-headed, blue-eyed Indian President! Hiawatha!

    July 15, 2014 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  24. mike

    Elizabeth Warren is a politician of good intentions, the most dangerous kind of progressive.

    July 15, 2014 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
  25. dennis

    She is a rock star to the liberal press only. Her party and the EPA eliminated thousands of coal industry jobs. I doubt the unemployed share the stupidity of this woman and party.

    July 15, 2014 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
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