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. Don Grag

    Warren is an ugly socialist and shouldn't be holding an office in our system. Much less should anyone think her Presidential material. Blech!!

    July 15, 2014 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  2. ibefreeman

    Another muti-millionaire spitting at the folks who enabled her to be so wealthy. I believe she lives in a $5million home, ya now, just like the folks. And the pen*s envy group are so blinded by their jealousy of others' success, they can't see her hypocrisy.

    July 15, 2014 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  3. Crewmax42

    This woman scares me more than Hillary and Biden. She is pure socialist.

    July 15, 2014 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  4. malice420dotcom

    Another 1%'er wanting to be president of women. I guess it's better than president of black. I hope she fails.
    Oh who am I fooling ? She's a nut job creep.
    rvn70/71
    mi lai

    July 15, 2014 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  5. Faux - cahontas

    When the rest of the country finds out she is one of the one percent, who got her 'affirmative action' (see : Discrimination) college admissions and later college jobs was because she lied and checked the 'minority' boxes on her applications. Don't believe it? Do a little research.

    July 15, 2014 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  6. C Carroll

    Just what we need in the White House- another liar who falsified their background to be elected.

    July 15, 2014 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  7. jimmy9522

    She is like that sweet little grandmother in those horror movies that turns out to be nuttier than Hillary.

    July 15, 2014 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  8. jeanne

    this fraud has made millions off wall st!!!! and she's for poor struggling students?? she is one of the causes of the problem. schools in her case harvard charge a fortune to be able to pay indian princesses like herself !!! she makes over a million dollars a year, and owns 2 magnificent mansions....a huge fraud!!!!

    July 15, 2014 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  9. bluesky

    Paleface Squaw say Great Spirit say run. Have pow wow, smokum peace pipe, and drink fire water. Many moons pass
    and Cherokee squaw get on ballot. First Native American woman resident.

    July 15, 2014 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  10. C.Reid

    The ultimate hypocrite! She and her husband each made approximately $700,000 per year from Harvard. Her total net worth is between $7million and $14.5 Million dollars. She lives in a $5 million dollar house. And yet, in Mass. the ultra wealthy are given a choice to pay an additional tax to help the State. She didn't do it! Let the little people pay it! Her taxes show she gave approx. 3% to charity. She screams against Wall Street and yet has an $8million investment portfolio!. She claims she owns only one stock- IBM which is now $189 per share and I am sure she owns more than one share but can't find out that info. She is as much of the 1% as Mitt Romney is, only he is a lot more generous with his charitable and personal giving. Don't fall for this. She is a part of what she is screaming about.

    July 15, 2014 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  11. vidkunl

    This 'woman' is a lying sleaze bag. Fauxchahauntas, the Native American Princess of Fraud.

    Is it any wonder that liberals think she's a rock star?

    July 15, 2014 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  12. Thinker Prime

    Warren epitomizes exactly what the Democrats stand for. The more she speaks the better. She lacks the guile of a Hillary or an Obama to deceive with words. As such, even low information voters can realize exactly what the Democrats stand for. I hope she is prominent in the campaigns of every single Democrat candidate and then is their Presidential nominee.

    July 15, 2014 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  13. Cw

    Oh and of course she just happens to be ...................................0000001 American Indian = same old BS

    July 15, 2014 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  14. BostonHarbor1776

    Sacajawarren is still spreading her lies? This no talent Harvard fraudster makes Hilary look like Abraham Lincoln. Tough to tell any more whether the NY or MA politicians are more disgusting.

    July 15, 2014 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  15. jUST CHECKIN'

    Another fine example of liberalism being a mental disorder. Oh yeah, we really needed ANOTHER liar in Washington! Ms Capito will make an excellent Senator from West Virginia!

    July 15, 2014 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  16. Brad

    Ok, have any of you seen her stance on any policy ? If you have and you are not a left wing loon you have to realize that this women is a nut bag ! Also a liar,American Indian please...

    July 15, 2014 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  17. Kate

    Just what we need. Another liberal, leftist, socialist, Marxist, progressive Democrat to put our country down. Yes, let's put someone even worse than Obama, If that' possible, in charge of our lives for several more years.

    July 15, 2014 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  18. Mary Ditzel

    Too Ugly, nut said.

    July 15, 2014 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  19. JohnSmart

    Hillary – if she runs – will clock this witch from Mass.

    July 15, 2014 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  20. DanX

    I'm confused. I live near her. She lives in a $5M mansion in Cambridge, has servants, got paid $350,000 for teaching one class at Harvard and is worth $15M. That's all well and fine but does that not make her the 1% she bashes? This woman is a phony and I hope people don't fall for this. She's a female Obama with a thirst for Socialism for all EXCEPT the 1% that she is a member of.

    July 15, 2014 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  21. Ray

    Heaven help this country if this woman runs and is elected President. She will be worse than Obama ever thought of being.

    July 15, 2014 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  22. dmacwired

    She has got to be out of her mind. And I'd have to be out of mine if I even started to think just a smidgeon about voting for her.
    Just what we need another pious pretender who thinks all the rules she makes are for others to obey.

    Will she kill two birds with one stone if she's elected?
    The first woman and lesbian president?
    Just asking//

    July 15, 2014 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  23. sam

    Bet she didn't bash the ones working for her, or the real thing is she didn't mean it.

    July 15, 2014 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  24. pursang

    Run,Lizzie,run!

    I can't decide if Warren will do as well as Dukakis or McGovern, but it will be fun to watch!

    July 15, 2014 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  25. Eamon Diaz

    As a moron E Warren has a good chance of being elected president. he stands tall compared to the electorate.

    July 15, 2014 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
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