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. Obvious

    A multimillionaire charlatan telling a bunch of low information Obama dupes what they want to hear. Obama's failures have taught them nothing. They fall for the same nonsense all over again.

    July 15, 2014 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  2. NewVegasRedident

    I wonder how much of Warren's millions area result of wall st. Its funny how the left doesn't talk how they made their millions.

    July 15, 2014 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  3. wodun

    "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!”"

    The cult of personality that progressives have for their leaders like Che, Castro, and Maduro is really creepy.

    "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."

    Yup, totally creepy.

    Next it will be reported that Warren fans pictures of her up on their walls.

    July 15, 2014 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  4. mike

    In honor of Teddy Roosevelt, i salute Elizabeth.

    July 15, 2014 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  5. Norm

    Look out Dems... here come YOUR 'Tea Party'.

    July 15, 2014 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  6. Name

    Fauxcohontas rides again! Another Dem empty suit.

    July 15, 2014 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  7. Skadams

    Yawn... Dems are so desperate, they're resorting to scraping the bottom of the barrel and they came up with..... Elizabeth Warren. Yeah, good luck with all that.

    July 15, 2014 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  8. Old Cowboy

    If Democrats are looking at Elizabeth Warren as a possible candidate for president what happened to LADY HILLARY? The voters have been made to believe there's only one possible candidate for president in 2016 and that would be Hillary. Liberal Democrats are so confusing..

    July 15, 2014 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  9. don lindsay

    when I see warren speaking her liberal mania is tiring. Her whacked out, over the top socialism is truly repellent.

    July 15, 2014 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  10. RichZ

    If you can look someone in the eye, smile, and lie to them, even when they know you are lying, then you qualify for a high ranking position in the Democrat Party. Elizabeth Warren has this qualification in spades!

    July 15, 2014 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  11. Guest

    Please, please, please, please, please let Warren be the Dem nominee for president!!!

    July 15, 2014 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  12. hunter

    A phony Indian running as a phony populist. Yet another pig in a poke brought to us by the best media money can buy.

    July 15, 2014 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  13. Jon

    "High Cheek-Bones" Warren would be a hoot to watch in another election. Her biggest problem is she is a far left liberal and far left liberals only get elected when the effectively lie about who they are. Obama is a world class liar that knows you can't win an election by saying "Hey America, let's become socialist". Warren actually thinks her socialist drivel would win an election.

    July 15, 2014 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  14. Anonymous

    Good old non-biased reporting. Way to go CNN, the electorate benefits from your coverage!

    July 15, 2014 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  15. Erman

    Isn't she the one that stated she was an American Indian to scam her job application/school application.

    July 15, 2014 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  16. Jeffery

    She's just a Hillary Clinton wannabe. As a Democrat i don't see any worth in this woman because she doesn't stand on our principles.

    July 15, 2014 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  17. Todd P.

    Sorry, America doesn't need another neoMarxist (i.e.-Communist-lite) to be President. The pathetic one that we have now has done enough damage to the nation to last 5 generations.....

    July 15, 2014 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  18. dave

    It would be wonderful to have her be the first Native American president, and bonus if first female too.

    July 15, 2014 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  19. Wayne

    Good Lord. Stop. Enough.

    July 15, 2014 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  20. Seattle One

    Where the heck are we?

    July 15, 2014 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  21. Del Smith

    What enthusiasm is shown by democrats towards Warren or Clinton is hard to fathom after observing what this country has been put through over the last five years. I trust those democrats who don't have their hand out to the federal
    government will likely not want to be a party to the continued destruction of this country. I think many of them are too
    smart to allow it to continue. Some will realize the terrible mistakes of the electorate in 08 and 2012.

    July 15, 2014 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  22. joe

    Well, she'd fit right in with the other lying Democrats who can't keep their story straight – Miss 'Im of native Indian American heritage' Warren.

    How is it that all liberal politicians have so much trouble with the truth ?

    July 15, 2014 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  23. Richardc

    Oh, great. Just what we need. Another inexperienced, under-prepared academic running for president, and from a "minority" group that is "due". Didn't my fellow Dems learn anything with Obama?

    July 15, 2014 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  24. RB

    It's rather amazing that this woman has the rocks to make all those guys with stuffed shirts look like what they really are, common thieves! She has more gumption to stand up to the people that have been ripping everyone off for the past 30 years!

    July 15, 2014 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  25. cneder

    WOW this fiction author is all in on Warren.

    July 15, 2014 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
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