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. Debra

    Shouldn't she be at a pow wow doing a Global cooling dance or something.

    July 15, 2014 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  2. Beth

    I really don't care who that state picks. I'd be ashamed to be lumped with Kerry and Ted Kennedy.

    July 15, 2014 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  3. cc423

    Warren was borin into a lower middle class family in Oklahoma. She has worked hard every day of her life to get where she is... Conservatives hate people who work hard. Yet they love people like GW Bush who had everything handed to him on a silver platter?

    July 15, 2014 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  4. Buckeyebubba

    She's NOT Native American, and this has been proven. She made this claim for financial advantage. When confronted about this she said that her mother told her that they had Native American ancestry. This has been proven to be FALSE.

    July 15, 2014 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  5. Wichita

    Maybe someone who isn't worth $15 million should be leading this particular battle cry, Elizabeth.

    July 15, 2014 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  6. enoughalready

    Who is she kiddin'...the so called "big banks" are the biggest Democrat donors when it comes to Obama's main function FUNDRAISING. It's a sham to act as if they are enemies! A great many of the CEO's and Hedge Fund managers are DEMOCRATS! This is just the liberal lie, playing the people as idiots yet again. Liars and hypocrites infest liberal politics and this phoney virtue has been worn out by obama. Citizens have discovered much more than they wanted to about what exactly Democrats stand for lies and liars!

    July 15, 2014 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  7. Name

    This woman is a filty rich 1% er and a true idiot that is living proof, that anyone can get an Ivy League diploma! I can't wait for the debates. This woman is truly STUPID! Hillary will kill her. Who is pushing this faux member of the leftist elites? This woman defines liberal, leftist elitism laced with immorality and s gentous helping of idiocy!

    July 15, 2014 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  8. cc423

    Conservatives are such hypocrites. They love people like GW Bush who had everything handed to him on a silver platter and cared NOTHING for the working people of this nation... yet they bash someone like Warren who was born into a lower middle class family in Oklahoma and had to work hard every day to get to where she is now. It's official: Conservatives hate the American dream.

    July 15, 2014 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  9. Anonymous

    And she bashed Republican opposition to her student loan bill, which would have lowered interest rates but was blocked in the Senate...The Senate is dominated by the Dems, Elizabeth. Duh....

    July 15, 2014 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  10. onetermandout

    She is the epitome and poster child for the democrat party. A known socialist and liar; all she has achieved in her typical liberal life she obtained by lying about her ancestry.

    July 15, 2014 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  11. Bad Man

    More lies for the low information crowd from the phony Indian.

    July 15, 2014 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  12. Zack

    Isn't this the lady who lied about her so called Native American ancestory?

    July 15, 2014 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  13. joeamerican

    she is the female version of the Muslim in the white house

    July 15, 2014 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  14. Bob Hampton

    Reading through some of these posts, it is truly depressing to consider that after the many disasters imposed upon our country by a novelty president, growing worse by the day, there are still people out there that don't have enough sense to learn from their mistake. Warren is just another progressive novelty, and just as dangerous as those who gave us incompetents like Eric Holder, Katherine Sebelius and Valerie Jarrett.

    July 15, 2014 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  15. Trent

    I've always admired the wisdom of Native Americans like Elizabeth Warren. She seems to have a profound relationship with nature and her surroundings, as do many Native Americans like Elizabeth Warren. I'm proud that a Native American like Elizabeth Warren represents the good people of Massachusetts, which is full of Native Americans like Elizabeth Warren.

    July 15, 2014 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  16. Anonymous

    "The Massachusetts senator and reigning champion of progressives everywhere"

    You know, that line should give pause to all Americans. More social-progressivism and all its vapid rhetoric and needless jargon is not what America needs.

    July 15, 2014 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  17. just saying

    elizabeth warren, on the political scale, further to the left than fidel castro. that is what the democrat party has become. a group of socialists and communists masquerading as 'progressives'. have they ever told you what they want to progress towards? answer: socialism & communism. your rights as individuals will not exist, only the rights of the commune. if you don't think it gets any worse than obama, well look at warren. obama quadrupled, including the incompetence and divisiveness.

    July 15, 2014 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  18. Dave-0

    Warren is, quite literally, a red Herring. Her politics are firmly to the left of Obama's and DOA with the vast majority of Americans. Go ahead, run her as a minority Native American candidate.

    July 15, 2014 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  19. Rob

    Golly-gee, I wonder if the rich Senator has much more than the eight million in stocks she claims tied up in Wall Street? Warren made her money selling houses with predatory lending – it is just so sad that more people cannot see this hypocrite for what she truly is which is an extreme agenda of a Communist – Socialist experiment [typical do as I say and not as I do type]…

    July 15, 2014 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  20. J. Warren

    You forgot to mention that viryually almost all of Candidate Warren's supporters in West Virginia were brought in from Washingon,D.C. including the hundreds from the Left-wing media. She is pretty much a talking parrot. Not one original idea or thought. Hillary will destroy her and if Hillary does,not run, then any of the Republicans will do te job easily. This woman is a fake. She certainly is not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

    July 15, 2014 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  21. Anonymous

    The next Democratic rock Star? Great replacing one LYING ideologue (Obama) with another LYING Ideologue (Warren)
    Good news is that all liars , if they are Democrats will be fully supported by CNN/MSNBC/COMCAST. It's the ideology not the facts.

    July 15, 2014 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  22. mcm

    So she blames the failure of her student loan bill to pass on the GOP – yet it was held up in the Democrat-controlled Senate. Apparently, she feels she can say anything she wants and we will believe it.

    July 15, 2014 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  23. ralph martin

    You fools, you elect ANY democrat and they are going to try to kill all energy jobs that arent their renewable buddies. They dont use an all of the above approach like they say, they will close mine after mine and power plant after power plant until only the very rich will be able to afford electricity or have mobility of any kind.

    July 15, 2014 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  24. MaverickCoast

    Wouldn't that be a hoot if her and Hilliary ran against each other?!?! It would be a battle of who's done the least to deserve the White House!!!

    July 15, 2014 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  25. bigjulie

    Here we go again! The DNC overhauls their manure spreaders and out comes lots and lots of fresh BS as they attempt to turn a rather slow-witted Communist into a national treasure. Let's see...will it next be the "crease in her slacks" or "Wherever she goes, she's the smartest person in the room"? She's the one who actually started the, "You didn't build that!!" malarkey plagiarized by the Coyote-In-Chief. Really sterling qualifications, eh?

    July 15, 2014 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
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