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. Roto

    She is spot on. Wall Street is a drug, not an investment facility. As bad as the cartels. Nation's prosperity is built on this Disneyland that in fact is the cause (on many levels) of income inequality to the extreme it is today.

    July 15, 2014 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  2. Dennis Pitner

    This woman is a progressive dolt that likes to run around claiming that she is just one of the 47%.In reality she is one of the rich people that she claims to campaign against.She has a couple of mansions in Cambridge and I believe that she also has some rentals she obtained through foreclosures.Plus she gets a ridiculous salary from Harvard and now the US Senate.By lying about her non-Native American heritage she was able to scam Harvard into giving her a position at Harvard.Her claim to oratory fame is the line (you didn't build that).It's a stupid line no matter who says it,and now Obama runs around quoting this same drivel.

    July 15, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  3. Godot

    I sense, as others, a McGovern moment here.

    July 15, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  4. KikiEm

    Elizabeth Warren claimed that she is descended from a Cherokee Indian Tribe on her application to Harvard Law School. That's a BIG FAT LIE. She based it on folklore from distant family members. She even went so far as to claim her high cheekbones prove her Native-American heritage. Democrats have backed Warren, even as her actions have drawn fire from native Americans including members of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.
    Oh, wait a minute......I momentarily forgot. Potential superstars in the Democrat party have to prove they can tell BIG FAT WHOPPERS before they are even considered to be climbing luminaries in the LIARS CLUB of the Democrat Party.

    July 15, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  5. colormeneutral

    In my opinion, that little consumer protection agency recouping $4 Billion for consumers trumps the native American thing easily!

    July 15, 2014 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  6. JustRight

    Picking on obamas's buddies is going to get her in a lot of trouble.

    July 15, 2014 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  7. colormeneutral

    I my opinion, that little consumer protection thing that recouped $4 Billion for consumers easily trumps the native American thing!

    July 15, 2014 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  8. cd

    Please run her as your candidate Dems! She's an f-ing moron. Love to see her debate in an Indian headress, because after all, claiming to be 1/32 Cherokee so she can apply for jobs as a minority might work in Mass, but the rest of the country will hate her.

    July 15, 2014 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  9. amos2

    Elizabeth Warren is another rag doll the Democrats have dragged out of their closet of misfits to mouth the foul and disgusting leveling ideology of Marxism. They see H.Clinton failing miserably and need another mouthpiece, as a trial balloon, to see if she will succeed where Hillary is failing.

    July 15, 2014 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  10. Jane Strange

    I knew the trail of tears and hysteria over Obama would lead our nation to another Snake Oil Saleswoman who can read off a teleprompter. If you thought Obama was bad, just elect her. I guess anyone is electable after Obama because Americans are this poorly informed and gullible.

    July 15, 2014 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  11. Betty coy

    Elizabeth Warren seems to be one of the few senators of this country willing to fight for the regular, general, real, population of the United States, and, although I might not hold with every idea she holds, I truly appreciate her work and ethics. You certainly don't find those characteristics in the majority of the people holding office.

    July 15, 2014 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  12. Steve

    Peter Hamby must be a big Warren supporter to write this piece. Nothing special here, just a list of Progressive talking points that date back to the late 1800's. Just talk and no action.

    July 15, 2014 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  13. Johann

    The three leading democrats are proven congenital liars. Hilary Clinton lied repeatedly about her husbands infidelities and sex assaults and she continuously lies about her own history, Elizabeth Warren lied when she claimed that she was an American Indian and used this lie to get affirmative action promotions at Harvard, Joe Biden lied many times about his past and is a proven plagiarist who published an article which was later proved to have been written by a British Socialist . Democrat party no truth tellers need apply.

    July 15, 2014 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  14. Tom

    This is again is not a new Dem strategy. Find a Senator with no track record that promises everything and promotes the dream. All she will do is give away more free stuff. The whole strategy of the current party in the White House is to promote a welfare state made up of takers and not givers. A nation that doesn't make, mine or drill for things is destined for the trash heap of the world. On top of it all she claims she is an Indian to boot.

    July 15, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  15. Norman

    I guess we're cursed for the next 2 years having to listen to Pocahontas reveling us with her business acumen. Just like the present empty suit in the White House.

    July 15, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  16. Yaspar

    Multimillionare Elizabeth Warren Bashes Wall Street.
    There, I fixed the headline for you.

    July 15, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    You mean the first woman Cherokee senator. directly from the communist news network

    July 15, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  18. azarkhan

    'Fauxcahontas' Warren is quickly becoming my favorite old pasty white progressive.

    July 15, 2014 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  19. lp

    GOP has done their job! Lashing out on Warren and NOT Wall Street.

    July 15, 2014 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  20. TZAZ

    This women makes Lenin look like a capitalist, she is a know nothing when it comes to the real world. She is very well off financially, so much for the defender of the unwashed masses.

    July 15, 2014 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  21. Jean

    Why didn't wealthy Elizabeth Warren check the box on her MA state tax return a few years ago to indicate she wished to be taxed at the higher tax rate offered on the MA Tax Form? She does not believe the rich (her) pay their fair share so she had a chance to put her money where her mouth goes and pay at a higher rate on an official form. She chose not to pay taxes at the higher rate. Why was that? Could it be she didn't really want to pay more to the government than she had to just like most of us?

    July 15, 2014 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  22. Eelo Fudpucker

    Why is it that filthy rich communists like Warren extoll the virtues of the government redistributing the working mans wealth but does not practice what she teaches ???
    If Warren was sincere in her beliefs she would give all of her money except enough to live on say 1 of her many many millions and stand with her ideology.
    We know that will never happen Liberals are comfortable with redistributing hard working American tax dollars but when it comes to their own money they are greedy pigs.

    July 15, 2014 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  23. james r.

    As Borat once said, why should I what this old man has to say? Rock Star, isn't that what Democrats once called Obama? Perhaps that's why our nation's economic, and foreign policies have hit a 'sour!' note.

    July 15, 2014 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  24. The Dude

    Wow! The republican trolls are out in force on this one. Must have gotten a memo from their owners, the Koch brothers. Surely a sign of how scared they are of Ms. Warren.

    July 15, 2014 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    Lieawatha at her best.

    July 15, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
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