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. micoz

    Another Democrat with strong ideology, no practical experience, and delusions of grandeur. A far left ideologue who built a career on lies and deception, out to destroy free enterprise.. A beneficiary of affirmative action she didn't deserve.

    Haven't we had enough of this already? Surely America is not that crazy again.

    July 14, 2014 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  2. Tim Flynn

    Only Mass could breed an individual like Elizabeth Warren. She is so far to the left of this entire planet only a Masshole could stand to listen to her. She is like a Saturday Night Live characature of herself. A lefty cartoon character.

    July 14, 2014 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  3. gail alexander

    ...wow...obama & hillary are so horribly evil and incompetent that a fake indian practicing law without a license looks good to democrats.

    July 14, 2014 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  4. Scott

    Ms. Warren, Please, please, please run for president

    July 14, 2014 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  5. steveintampa

    Warren ins Saul Alinsky re-incarnated

    July 14, 2014 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  6. Liz

    Another re-distribute the wealth hypocrite, it's said she makes $350,000. yr.plus another $200,000. Princess summer, fall, winter,spring.

    July 14, 2014 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  7. Independent voter

    "Champion of progressives" someone has smoked her peace pipe to even give her that label without even substantiating it with reporting. What a puff piece. For those outside of Massachusetts this divisive, manipulative and untruthful person achieved her status by deceiving and lying. She lied and said she was a minority to get her position at Harvard. She is a true double standard person who complains about student debt but was happy to pocket more than $400,000 a year for teaching ONE CLASS. And her daughter got the political gangsters in Massachusetts (check out how the Feds are putting most of the Mass Dems on trial for corruption in giving out political jobs) to do a mailing costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars to mandate welfare recipients sign up to vote. Peter Hamby, this "journalist" apparently loves to be the water boy for the Dems. Despicable reporting because it did not even visit these pertinent facts which would have diminished his lede of "champion". And these media companies wonder why they are losing audiences? They are slanting their stories to advance their own personal agendas. Journalism is dead and this cheer-leading puff piece is proof.

    July 14, 2014 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  8. James Malenfant

    I think she is great, and just what our country needs. Her points are right on, and the GOP is scared to death of her. Tee Hee! Have a great day!

    July 14, 2014 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  9. MidasRex

    Oh, please, yes – *do* run, Fauxchohantas. Can't think of a better example of how disconnected from reality the Democrats are, coupled with their pathological need to simply lie about *everything*. This blonde-haired, blue-eyed 'native American' (lmao) will be a *stellar* choice.

    July 14, 2014 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  10. David

    They ALL bash Wall street with a closed fist while taking a boatload of cash with the other

    July 14, 2014 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  11. max

    she should be our next president

    July 14, 2014 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  12. T_Ired

    I'll consider buying what she's selling just as soon as I see where her money is invested. I'd bet that she has gotten wealthy from the same companies that she's throwing under the bus.

    July 14, 2014 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  13. JGTheMan

    That's what we need, another radical left wing, demagogic ideologue with zero executive experience in the White House.

    July 14, 2014 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  14. clarkohrepub

    Just another politician, an extreme one at that, that will say anything to get a vote. I'm no fan of Big Banks or Big Wall Street....and I'm especially NOT a fan of Big Brother Government either! THAT is what Warren stands for....and we don't need any more of it! But if you, my West Virginia friends (and all Americans), want more of this current lousy economy and illegal immigration crisis....then do what you have to do and live with the lousy results. We can do much better! A woman President would be great....just not this extremist.

    July 14, 2014 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  15. Lynne

    Wow. It's as if there is a formula: knock money, get money and power. Oh, my how the propaganda of working for "the poor" makes money! Oh, Liz, what a star and good student you are!

    July 14, 2014 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  16. WarrensaLoon

    Please. Equal work for equal pay? Ask Obama if he's doing that, ask Michelle if she does that. And oh yeah, hse's Navajo too... get real. This lady is a liar and a fraud like everyone else in her party. She is buddied up to Zero and he's the worst president to ever sit in the Oval office with no close second. Got elected despite his Ayers connection, false SSN, non realeased ACTUAL BC, voting 'present" record, never even ran a lemonade stand or handled a budget and with all the scandal s in his 6yrs (too many to list here) it's amazing that you sheep STILL support a communist...errr Democrat.

    July 14, 2014 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  17. Ben Rice

    I'm pretty sure that Elizabeth Warren would have trouble getting elected president. I don't think that she could even get elected dog catcher!

    July 14, 2014 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  18. AndrussenK

    I hear Warren speak, but all I hear is blah blah blah.

    July 14, 2014 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  19. Count

    This woman is an absolute danger to America. She is a card carrying Communist and purveyor of Marxism in its purest form. All measures must be taken to insure that this woman never appears on a presidential ballot.

    July 14, 2014 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    "she bashed Republican opposition to her student loan bill, which would have lowered interest rates but was blocked in the Senate".... aren't the Democrats the majority in the Senate?

    July 14, 2014 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  21. Kate Hanni

    Yes she's great isn't she? But the recovered funds from the banks is NOT going to the consumers who lost money. That is a lie!

    July 14, 2014 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  22. Sean

    {Yawn} Yet another multi millionaire exclaiming how all the "other" wealthy people screwed everyone on their way up.
    Be interesting to see her stock portfolio while the rest of the country complains about the Clintons.

    July 14, 2014 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  23. Terry

    I really dig Elizabeth Warren.

    July 14, 2014 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  24. Lorraine

    Elizabeth Warren – a work in progress. Coulda shoulda helped parents out first of all – by attacking the high cost of higher ed and setting restrictions on those costs. You can bet state's receiving federal monies would lower their costs if they knew Uncle Sam wasn't doling it out anymore. Elizabeth Warren – I cannot support you wanting to assist persons who go out and volunteer to take on debt that cannot possibly pay out – I am too busy figuring out how to do with FAR LESS because my state university costs an arm and a leg – and my kid deserve to go there – but he doesn't deserve the high cost of any of it. Don't just COLUDE with colleges and universities charging students far too much – do something to FORCE costs to go down. And do so now – before you issue free passes to anyone volunteering for too much debt.

    July 14, 2014 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  25. dadling

    The perfect replacement for the juvinile president. Faux-ohontas....we're used to politicians who are liars and use government programs to enhance their status......

    July 14, 2014 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
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