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. miguel

    Speculation on 2016 is ostrich-like behavior. We have a Clear and Present Danger in the present White House occupant. It doesn't matter if Hitlery or Fauxcahontas win the nomination.
    Ob*ma is destroying America right before our very eyes and there is nothing we can do about it.

    July 15, 2014 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  2. davecu

    4 hours and no responses?
    Hmmm!

    This is as contrived as her Native American ancestory.

    July 15, 2014 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  3. reddog

    Everytime I see Warren I hear the theme song to the old looney tunes cartoons playing in the background. The woman is certifiable and if she is the best the libs have it will be a very long eight years for them.

    July 15, 2014 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  4. Wilbur Tibbetts

    The Fake Indian who cheated her way to advancement by lying to take advantage of Affirmative Acton. She cheated and took a seat away from a legitimate candidate so as to enhance her opportunity to become an ethnic female native American law professor at Harvard … She LIED on her application and Harvard bought her out of a desire to appear even more politically correct … thinking they had a real live female Indian lawyer. Since 1986, when she fabricated her heritage, she has stolen a seat belonging to a legitimate Affirmative Action candidate or applicant. Let’s all make her a role model. OH … and don’t forget the plagiarizing…. Do the math Libs… a moonbats moonbat! Lying, plagiarizing, just liberal resume enhancements!

    July 15, 2014 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  5. saduslover

    Of course she is a natural Democrat "Rock Star"...she's a liar and a fraud, she hates America but takes advantage of every perk she can get, and she has absolutely no principles (other than "take all you can get")

    July 15, 2014 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  6. Kristine

    Some say Elizabeth Warren is too far left. I say that is what makes her a great choice to be president.

    July 15, 2014 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  7. Kilma Lattin

    I take issue with Elizabeth Warren. I'm a first American but I'm an American first. As a Harvard educated Native American who has served his country and who has been elected (three times) to serve a constituency I personally think Elizabeth needs to soften her posturing. There are more qualified people to lead this country.

    Kilma Lattin, MBA

    July 15, 2014 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  8. JoJo

    Another example of liberal bias. Can anyone imagine a light, upbeat article like this being written about a conservative? If progs like Pocahontas Warren succeed this country is finished.

    July 15, 2014 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  9. NAC

    Liz says big wampum no good, for companies, wampum only good for tribes.

    July 15, 2014 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  10. Mr. Balls

    Elizabeth Warren bashing Wall Street is not new.

    July 15, 2014 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  11. Rodge Mustang

    I will never forget the disgust I felt when I saw this woman support and actually believe the "You didn't build that." Obama speech. This woman does not even deserve her 15 minutes. She should be banned from all news outlets from here on out, along with the rest of the zombies like her that all have the "you didn't build that" mentality.

    That type of thinking is dangerous for this country.

    Democrats are useful id*ots until there is no more use for them.

    July 15, 2014 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  12. charles sutter

    Yes, she is quite the "Rock Star" and the poster girl for "Liberalism is a Mental Illness." Every idea she has was tried over the last one hundred years and failed miserably. Einstein said, "If you try the same thing over and over and get the same failed result you are insane." I could spot the Indian Princess in a crowd of people and say without failure that she is a radical leftist. As a true Ronald Reagan Conservative, who knows conservatism works every time it is tried, I do honestly feel sad that we have these LOONS who follow our Indian Princess and her failed policies.

    July 15, 2014 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  13. r.schweikert@aol.com

    Pocahontas Warren, yeah, that's just what this country needs after the community organizer.

    July 15, 2014 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  14. Tom

    Can any sane person imagine CNN writing such a fawning article about any conservative or libertarian? Astonishing.

    July 15, 2014 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  15. Tex A. Montana

    Being of Native American descent, Warren should smoke the peace pipe with Bull Hillary. After all, she used this ruse to gain an affirmative action boost for all the professional goodies (education, employment, election fraud, etc.).

    July 15, 2014 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  16. jason

    finally someone gets it .....unlike Hillary

    July 15, 2014 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  17. rbblum

    Why should the American people trust a politician of a national political party currently in power ? . . . especially if the politician does not stand up and speak out against a lying, lawless, scandalous administration.

    July 15, 2014 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  18. Dadeo

    You must vote democrat to keep the Supremes from going over completely to the American Taliban but wouldn't it be nice to actually vote for someone who might actually do something for the working folks? Run Liz, you have my vote. Hillary is just another tool like Obama, talk the talk but no walk the walk.

    July 15, 2014 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  19. JB

    And? Didn't we have a candidate that the "progressives" drooled over elected president in recent memory? You can pander and spout platitudes all you want but it doesn't mean you'll follow through with them in the slightest. Some of what she says sounds good, but the American people should have learned by now to be cautious about what drivel comes out of any politician's mouth. In 2008 a candidate spouted about hope and change, transparency, limits of executive power, etc. When he got into office he pretty much did the opposite. In 2000 a man talked about a humbler foreign policy and spoke against nation-building. He also did pretty much the opposite. If the American people will vote for someone based on flowery language and catchy soundbites then we have learned nothing.

    July 15, 2014 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  20. Daniel Petry

    Please please please run her. We so much on her it would be a joy.

    July 15, 2014 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  21. brett

    Has she ever apologized for falsely claiming to be Cherokee to get minority status?

    July 15, 2014 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  22. The Bruce

    Oh, look... the faux-Native-American is pretending to not like the money tree that she and her Halfrican-American President keep begging for. Absolutely PRICELESS!!!

    July 15, 2014 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  23. elvischupacabra

    "Me Lizzy Warren from Cherokee tribe. Me come from big marble TeePee in Dee-Cee."

    July 15, 2014 02:35 am at 2:35 am |
  24. NUTZ

    God help America if this woman becomes president.

    July 15, 2014 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  25. Brad Neeley

    Oh goody! This is gonna be so much fun... and so easy!

    July 15, 2014 02:46 am at 2:46 am |
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