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. Steve

    Dangerous woman. Classic Progressive intent on stealing from the wealth producers and growing government even more than Obama.

    July 15, 2014 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  2. joeamerican

    Its very impressive for Warren to use her race in order to get ahead in her field, even with ZERO proof of a native American ancestry. Sounds like Obama in a way, doesn't it? He spent millions of $ hiding is fake certification of live birth (he doesn't have a birth certificate). She physically looks like the typical Dem female candidate, ugly and butch. Progressives continue to march us toward Marx, Lennin and Trotsky. Cloward/Piven break the capitalist system. Proving that liberalism is indeed a mental disorder!

    July 15, 2014 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  3. Stuart Andrews

    It's about time we elect a native American president!

    July 15, 2014 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  4. Gary

    Another lying laywer politician.
    She spent her life lying about being a native Emery an and reaping the social benefits.
    If America elects her they deserve every bad thing that happens to them.

    July 15, 2014 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  5. RITA

    funny thing Ms. Native American Warren – oops that was a lie you told... the Dem Party throws a lot of money into Wall Street to keep it pumping – I find it hard to believe in this day and age that people are ignorant enough to believe it is just the republicans that have a "big money" reputation when the Dems have more dirty money, can you say UNIONS, than anyone on the right....btw, lose the "folks", we are PEOPLE

    July 15, 2014 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  6. constitution1st

    The Grandmother of OCCUPY made $400,000 PER CLASS at Harvard. not a 1%er?
    Granny Warren LIED about being a Cherokee Indian so she could get an unfair hiring advantage at Harvard, then never apologized when the lie was exposed. However her great uncle did participate in rounding up Cherokees and driving them to death on the "Trail of Tears".
    Granny Warren was a trial lawyer for the insurance companies (against working the common man, i.e. against you and I).
    So there you have it, lying, hypocritical, ultra rich, neo-communist. the perfect Democrat.

    July 15, 2014 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  7. Gary

    Another liberal hypocrite..."Do as I say, not as I do." A millionaire who wants the common man to give up his/her money to redistribute, but will she give up her millions to redistribute? Maybe she should be the first to do so....it will never happen....She's a politician who loves unarmed peasants....

    July 15, 2014 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  8. Jack Parsons

    Warren scores a 0% on her Congressional scorecard. That means she votes against the law all the time. Shun her.

    July 15, 2014 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  9. Ge0ffrey

    Senator Fauxcahontis is as phony as an ear of Indian corn.

    July 15, 2014 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  10. Cholo

    "The danger to America is not Liz Warren but a citizenry capable of entrusting a liar like her to represent them in the Senate. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of a liar like Liz Warren than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a liar to represent them in the Senate. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Liz the Liar, who is a mere symptom of what ails America . Blaming the lying princess of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made her their princess. The Republic can survive a Liz Warren (I think), who is, after all, merely a liar and a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who voted her into the Senate."

    July 15, 2014 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  11. dsangiovanni

    HILLARY - WARREN 2016-2024....8 years only!!

    July 15, 2014 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  12. constitution1st

    With all the lying and hypocritical pontificating granny warren has done in the last five years, it frightens me that any one person believes she is going to be any different then all the lying frauds that have preceded her. Think about the fraud who is promoting her now and do the math.

    July 15, 2014 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  13. Sip That Kool Aid, It's All You're Good For.

    If any of you believe that the Wall Street titans are looking out for your interest, you are stark staring nuts. You obviously have lived a life steeped in fairy tales.

    July 15, 2014 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  14. Ted Brooks

    So this is some kind litmus test for the Dems? Bashing Wall Street? Didn't this President do the same thing?

    Seems to me, as soon as people are critical of the economy, Wall Street is the first place Liberals point as an indicator.

    You guys really need to get on the same page.

    July 15, 2014 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  15. Mike

    Another Democrat LIAR of who they are. She lied about being an Indian and the voters of her state vote for this type of person, who lied so she could milk the system as a phony minority.

    July 15, 2014 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  16. Reality

    Are you kidding? She has zero executive skills. Not even as a "community organizer" (still don't know what that is).

    July 15, 2014 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  17. timothy

    You don't awlways see what you get nor get what you see. Words are easy, a history that does not go along with those words easier to dispose of still I guess. I place my vote on historical evidence, not current rhetoric. That doesn'tmean I get an honest person but it more often than not delivers what I expect from that person.

    July 15, 2014 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  18. TxGran

    HEY,,,,you're right;she's awesome, and she tells it like it is......................

    July 15, 2014 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  19. Dave in IL

    Did she mention claiming native American lineage so get minority status and preferential hiring in her biography? She is the Democrat equivalent of the Tea Party with her attacks on business and wealth.

    July 15, 2014 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  20. Acqcon

    Another inexperienced bureaucrat from a fuzzy university. Comrade Warren doesn't know how to pour pee out of a boot! We've already tried the "inexperienced route, and see what we have – one collective mess.

    July 15, 2014 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  21. tgregory

    Elizabeth Warren, "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."

    So to Elizabeth the problem is the companies, not the US government that's giving favoritism to companies? I think Elizabeth needs to look in the mirror to find the problem.

    Even if Citibank and Goldman Sachs went away the US government is still there giving favoritism to whoever bribes them the most. Elizabeth is very aware of this but for some reason avoiding the root of the issue. Probably because she's getting her pockets lined too.

    July 15, 2014 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  22. Dems Love a Fake

    Ever notice the people Dems elect have to portray themselves as something they are not just in order to get elected. Bill Clinton "first African American" president who thinks a 'few years ago, Obama would have been serving him coffee', Obama presidency, "Just Words, Just Speeches" plagiarist, not a man behind the people, but rather a man behind the curtain (right Dorothy?), Elizabeth Warren, Chief NoHowNoWay continues the Dem sham of hucksters and frauds… So laughable, the "character" of the people that run and they had the chutzpah to comment on Mitt Romney legitimacy?!?

    July 15, 2014 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  23. The Truth Hurts

    Yes, Elizabeth, we all know that Wall Street is HORRIBLE to native Americans like yourself. I swear to God that democrats must be floating this fruitcake as a potential nominee just to make Hilary look halfway palatable.

    July 15, 2014 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  24. Anonymous

    Elizabeth Warren was born into a lower middle class family in Oklahoma. She worked hard to get everything she has today. Why do conservatives HATE people who work hard?

    July 15, 2014 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  25. iceload

    Judging by the comments the repubs are scared to death of Elizabeth. As a repub would say, "Excellent".

    July 15, 2014 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
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