July 14th, 2014
06:27 PM ET
8 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.

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“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. coyoteliberty

    The Demoncrat candidate for the US Senate in West Virginia says she is going to stand up to Obama on Coal, just like her counterpart in the Kentucky Race. The Demoncrat incumbant in Alaska's senate race says he is going to be a thorn in "Obama's butt" despite having backed him on Obamacare and blocking Oil drilling in the ANWR (two issues the voters of Alaska polled at variance on him with. In Maine, the Former head of the ACLU in that state vows to "stand up to the President" on the NSA and the Patriot Act and Preventative detention. Everywhere you look, there are Democrats, running full speed away from their President – while taking money hand over fist from Obama affiliated PACS and begging for his campaign help in raising even more money from his preferred donors. Do they seriously believe we are stupid enough to believe they'll stand up to Obama on anything?

    July 15, 2014 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  2. T-Bone51

    Elizabeth Warren is a typical democrat. She doesn't discuss anything but their native "talking points" such as minimum wage, equal pay and women's reproductive rights. She has nothing to say about the coal industry that is losing jobs and the rising costs of electricity. What's her stance on the border fiasco that her president created? And as far as foreign policy? Not a peep.

    July 15, 2014 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  3. danicalifornia

    When someone pretends to be an American Indian to get a job and Harvard pronounces her the first American Indian professor in the University, this woman has no credibility. Affirmative Action for the Rich 1/32 Cherokee.

    July 15, 2014 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  4. Steve

    Gee, ya think they like her at CNN? She's a Progressive (say ANYTHING but Socialist, for heaven's sake!!). Not one, one mind you, bit of criticism.

    July 15, 2014 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  5. Dan

    yeah, Fauxcahontas is for "the little guy". Unless he works in an industry she disapproves of. Then, not so much. Sorry, coal miners.

    July 15, 2014 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  6. Merphis Ellis

    Once again we have a serial lier!

    July 15, 2014 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  7. Johnny

    So she didn't tout her "native American" heritage? Liar, liar, pants on fire!

    July 15, 2014 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  8. dellrichards

    How is it Kemosabi Warren is still in office is beyond me.

    July 15, 2014 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  9. Todd

    Hello she has used being a minority to advance her education and career. It's a lie. She is a lie. All progressives are a lie.

    July 15, 2014 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  10. Rich

    Indian Princess Lottahockey, I can't believe people are dumb enough to think she's somehow relevent. Then again, we were dumb enough to put Obama back in office for a second term, so who knows.

    July 15, 2014 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  11. GlassHouses

    Someone who lives in a $5 million home and has investments worth $10 million shouldn't be casting stones. Even most wall streeters don't live like that,

    July 15, 2014 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  12. bubba

    Try not to get too excited with this reception in WVA. Shepherdstown is home to a large fed govt complex. Lots of govt workers.

    July 15, 2014 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  13. JoeHoliday

    I hope this lying squaw is the hope for the Dems. Please be the candidate.

    July 15, 2014 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  14. Zee

    This lady is going to be the next President

    July 15, 2014 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  15. Nick

    How much is her net worth? And where did she invest and grow her savings? Hypocrite. And for that matter, what's a far left Massachusetts senator doing in WV instead of her home state where her constituents live?

    July 15, 2014 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  16. Omalena

    God help us!

    July 15, 2014 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  17. @RI_Roger

    America needs to be very skeptical of this lady.... she has a reputation of telling you what you want to hear and delivers nothing unless it's for her own personal gain.... very much like our current President.

    July 15, 2014 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  18. NYVeteran

    Teddy Roosevelt was a progressive. I like progressives. I dislike regressives like the Tea Party and currently paralyzed with fear GOP. We are Americans. We don't stand still with time or hide behind oceans. Evolve or become extinct. Some parties need to know when they are nothing but dried up bones in a museum. I like her.

    July 15, 2014 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  19. jcx2

    She is the inventor of the idiotic "you didn't build it" assault on business owners. Does she and Obama, who copied it, really believe that a business owner morphs into one without ever paying wage taxes, income taxes, School & real estate taxes, SS & medicare taxes, gasoline taxes, etc. Do they really assume that business owners don't contribute ? My guess is that was her way of trashing those of us who mortgage our homes to get business loans, often go without pay checks to pay our suppliers and employees and the mega taxes small business owners pay. I recently saw her rant in the movie "America" and it is rude, insulting and flat out in error. It was the rant of a drama queen. Her take on the world is one of a spoiled, arrogant, ignorant politician....she is definitely a democrat.

    July 15, 2014 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  20. Gabbo

    I'm still in shock that even uber liberal Massachusets would vote in such a story teller as Lie-a-watha – unbelievable. I thought people were FIRED for lying on resumes ?

    July 15, 2014 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  21. Harry Greed

    Oh Great....Another man/woman from the democrats. Seriously, what planet and/or manufacturing plant produces these sub humans?

    July 15, 2014 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  22. BS

    As a MA resident, I can only ask these folks who love her so much to please convince her to run for Senate in WV.

    July 15, 2014 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  23. JT

    I can understand her concern, given that her Wall Street is basically built on the land her Native American ancestor's must have owned. Oh wait.

    July 15, 2014 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  24. tony_snow@comcast.net

    WOW...CNN, Not you now? Title of the article, "Elizabeth Warren Bashes Wall Street"...Why is this news? She always does this...OH and love your, "drives up with no security detail..." adds dramatic effect. Blah Blah BLAH worked minimum wage, republicans evil...blah blah blah... She is worth $15+MM and lives in a mansion...oh wait she is for the little guy...go knock on her door little guy...You will discover her security detail. Wall Street and Banks employ millions of people in good jobs...many of them your neighbors and family...Her diatribe against the financial sector is getting old!

    July 15, 2014 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  25. V

    Please...please...Elizabeth Warren, run for the Presidency. It's the only chance the Republicans have of winning the White House.

    July 15, 2014 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
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