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. jim caron

    that cnn would even treat this person seriously means cnn needs to take their brain out, turn it around, wash it, put it back in and reboot...

    July 15, 2014 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  2. MakeThemEatCake

    With the KNOWN health and environmental problems brought on by the use of coal, the cost of using coal to generate energy SHOULD be scaled back. The true costs of coal are not included in what is paid today. Coal would not be competitive if environmental costs were included. When the costs of mitigating these impacts through CCS and UCG are factored in, it will not be competitive against renewables. If the effort being used to "clean" coal before and after its use went into improving green technologies, not only in their use but their effectiveness, those technologies will be more cost effective. No one wants to live near a coal mine. No one wants to live near the coal ash storage facilities. No one really wants to work in a coal mine. They do so only because in those areas it is the only game in town. The Olympics that took place in China showed the effects of an unregulated coal industry. People there walk around wearing masks because the air is so polluted. Yes the exhaust of a coal fired plant can be cleaned up a bit but the cost of those procedures are not counted when calculating the energy return of a coal plant. The environmental effects of liquefying the CO2 output and pumping that back into the ground are not totally understood. While I agree that the world's dependence on electricity is growing,

    July 15, 2014 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  3. GlarryB

    You do realize this woman is a liar and an opportunist who claimed "Minority Status" as a native American (Indian) to obtain a job with a university. Her "proof" was (she said) "High Cheekbones". Turned out she was less than 1/32nd which is NOT a legal bloodline to claim minority status for hiring. But that didn't stop her. She's a typical lying socialist-democrat and you can't believe a word she says.

    July 15, 2014 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  4. patty henry

    She has a better hairdo than Hillary, I'll give her that, but the brain is just not competent, otherwise she would not say the half-baked things that she says. Typical Progressive dribble. Their first statements are generic (and Universal)..like roof over every head, chicken in every pot....but her logic is pure Socialism... we didn't build it...but we rode on highways paid by tax payers... Had she the mental capacity, it may have occurred to her that: The person who owns the factory/Business also employs people who all pay taxes and even the 'owner' (who didn't build that) pays taxes and
    without that owner's guts and entrepreneurial spirit – his risk – there would be no factories/jobs/small businesses ? Silly woman...but I hope she does run!! She'd be easier to beat than Hillary/Bill.

    July 15, 2014 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  5. SGT Chemistry

    Fake Native American liar Warren should try campaigning in my district for Democrats. AZ District 1 includes the Navajo Nation, the Hopi Nation, three Apache reservations, the Havasupai reservation, the Zuni reservation, and part of the Kaibab-Paiute reservation. Maybe she could explain to our Native American friends how she defrauded her way through life falsely claiming to be one of them.

    July 15, 2014 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  6. jasonn13

    At least she's dropped that phony Native American BS. Still a commie though. Sheesh.

    July 15, 2014 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  7. Rodney Mann

    Ah yes, the fake Indian from Massachusetts railing against the very Wall Street that made her a millionaire. Typical Limo Lib.

    July 15, 2014 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  8. Burbank Burner

    Naturally the socialist-democrat party hacks will pick Squaw warren as their new messiah. Since the old messiah has turned out to be a catastrophe, the left wing, lunatics, need a new "hope and change" phony. How much money did Squaw warren make in the mortgage loan biz? And she is bashing Wall Street, creator of wealth and prosperity. Well, no one is surprised at liberal hypocrisy, are they?

    July 15, 2014 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  9. Ace

    Hillary needs to watch out or she's going to be the Buffalo Bills of running for president.

    July 15, 2014 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  10. ancientemplar

    hey kimosabe now we'll have a" Boston" Redskin in Washington.

    July 15, 2014 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  11. husky

    Love when she rants about student loans. She is the problem. A Harvard Professor who brings in six figures to spew her liberal BS. This is all they have?

    July 15, 2014 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  12. CasinoCountry

    Class 3 gaming coming to the White House?

    July 15, 2014 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  13. Mike Carter

    Just what the Dems need...one more "rock star" to lead them. Add her name to the list that includes such geniuses as Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Joe Biden, et. al. At least she's Native American though.

    July 15, 2014 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  14. P BO

    She recently came to KY for Alison Grimes which is odd since Grimes father and Bill Clinton are good friends, but Warren must be on her Coal Tour of the US. Having Hillary by your side is one thing, but with Warren you are doomed for a big loss come election time.

    July 15, 2014 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  15. Pete Kent

    Amazing how CNN can put this article up and the vast majority of the commenters despise this progreessive, liberal woman who lied about her heritage to get ahead in academia. You would think the media would learn that being a shill for the Democratic Party is why their ratings are in the toilet and they have to promote a Food Channel guy in the evening to attract a paltry few more viewers.

    @petekent01 (follow me on twitter)

    July 15, 2014 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  16. Katherine

    E. Warren = a bad joke... She is left of left of left. Dangerous woman.

    July 15, 2014 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  17. AdrienneM

    This woman is dangerous. She SOUNDS like a champion of the Proletariat, with her skillfully crafted verbiage. DO NOT FORGET, she is the author of "YOU DIDN'T BUILD THAT". Her specious argument that businesses should pay MORE TAXES because "they hire people who WE PAID TO EDUCATE" makes me feel, as a Public School graduate, that I am some kind of CHATTEL of the State.But somehow, she conveniently leaves out the part where those SAME BUSINESSES: 1) Hire people to BEGIN WITH, and 2) PAY more taxes via payroll, gas taxes, property taxes, rent taxes, and 3) CREATE goods & services which generate SLAES TAX. And WALL ST? She forgets to tell you that she made $300,000 for teaching ONE COURSE, and is a ONE PERCENTER.

    July 15, 2014 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  18. Bob Hill

    Hello my name is Elizabeth Warren and I am an idiot.....

    July 15, 2014 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  19. Loren

    And her party in the office of President and the Attorney General is the one that has failed to make any significant prosecutions for financial crimes of Wall Street insiders. Oh, wait, they've all been hired to work at Treasury and the White House.

    July 15, 2014 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  20. MAJack

    Elizabeth Warren is a crackpot. Her fraudulent use of "minority status" and ridiculous claim of inspiring the Occupy Wall Street misfits and miscreants demonstrates this clearly. Gee, just what America does NOT need, another overpaid Harvard lawyer (how's the current one working out?) with delusions of a Socialist workers utopia. God save the Republic.

    July 15, 2014 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  21. Wide Eyed

    Wow! When Drudge links to an article it really opens the floodgates of crazy!

    July 15, 2014 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  22. Bruce Frykman

    Yes, just what we need, another fruit loop academician who never earned and honest buck in her life.

    Consumer Protection Agency: what a joke. How about a GPA (Government Protection Agency) to protect the citizen against the ravages of leftist politicians. I'm not forced to buy anything from a corporation, and when I choose to it actually works.

    Why didn't this nitwit try to protect students form the fraud that the educational establishment was perpetrating on them when she was on the collecting side of the fence?

    (Properly) educated minds want to know.

    July 15, 2014 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  23. Malory Archer

    Isn't it ironic (or would that be hypocritical?) the way the right whines about the mean ol' "libruls" and their mean ol' comments concerning dim bulb barbie's OWN WORDS, yet spew hateful invective on message thread attached to an article about a female Dem – and the so-called "librul" media leaves THOSE comment sections open for days on end for the reds to do just that?

    July 15, 2014 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  24. JR

    Elizabeth Warren is the media's Barack Obama for the 2016 Presidential cycle. This is how it all started. With the media building a political rock star out of a wholly unqualified, but uber-liberal political neophyte. Hopefully by November 2016, even the dumbest among us will all have learned what a disaster it is when we let the main stream media pick our President.

    July 15, 2014 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  25. Anonymous

    She must be a European Indian

    July 15, 2014 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
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