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. Bigshott

    warren is a blip on the map of her own party. She is a single digit candidate

    July 15, 2014 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  2. AB Wheeler

    Gee – no rollin' deep here either. Kinda slanted doncha think?

    July 15, 2014 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  3. Diriger

    Heap big Warren run for President! Almost certainly 1/64 Indian and proud of it when applying for school positions!

    July 15, 2014 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  4. Ben Franklin

    Another double talker. Democratic liberal candidates will just about tell you anything to get elected.
    She made a fool ,acclaiming that she had a Native Indian blood line.
    We need to pull back from the spenders who are spending borrowed money , getting us nearer to a financial collapse.

    July 15, 2014 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  5. John

    Poor Sacagawarren! Isn't she the same person who bashes Corps and big business and made her fortune off? Then made a ton more off the poor she claims to defend but made a killing off foreclosures in Oklahoma real estate deals? She's the typical hypocritical Limousine Liberal.

    July 15, 2014 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  6. tiki_party

    Not very bright to have the most liberal Senator in the nation come and campaign for you in West Virginia.

    July 15, 2014 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  7. JB

    This woman is a hypocrite. She whines about the cost of college, while she teaches one class a week at Harvard and gets paid $400,000. She is the problem.

    She rails against Wall Street for supporting republicans, but of course won't address lawyers supporting Dems, and therefore we can be sure she will never reform the judicial system because she is beholden to them.

    July 15, 2014 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  8. Joe Elector

    WE know what's going on. Cancer Is PROGRESSIVE, and the Dmocrats are a Malignancy in the Middle Class...

    July 15, 2014 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  9. Randy

    Warren is an absolute FRAUD!! Wake up people!

    July 15, 2014 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  10. Gregory

    Figures, a serial liar is their biggest draw!

    July 15, 2014 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  11. People's Republic of Illinois

    Just another typical Democrat pushing the same obstructionist failed policies of the past. She lied about her heritage. She spews her anti Wall Street vitriol all the while building her personal bank account from donations from the pseudo intellectuals she suckers into following her. Truly pathetic!

    July 15, 2014 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  12. Proudly Unaffiliated

    This woman is another leftist out to destroy the founding principles of America.

    July 15, 2014 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  13. EVN

    Imagine that. A politician genuinely interested in taking this country back from the banks, the corporations, the lobbyists and the rest of those who think America exists only to make a profit. Who would have thunk it?

    July 15, 2014 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  14. Carl LeFong

    Presidential material, right there.

    July 15, 2014 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  15. Tacoma Fred

    I know many Democrats are conservatives and don't know it. These Marxists like Warren will wake many up. They don't want the United States changed from a land of freedom and opportunity to a land of serfs. Warren will be supported by the Communist Party USA – they strongly supported Obama in 2008 and 2012.

    July 15, 2014 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  16. Uncle Fink

    Go get them, little Lie-A-Watha! Go scalp Wall Street!

    July 15, 2014 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  17. Rich The Engineer

    Another demagogue whipping the common folk into a frenzy of stupidity. After 8 years of New Bolshevik Criminal "leadership", you would think people would have had enough of the lies. I guess some people are just congenitally stupid and partisan.

    July 15, 2014 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  18. mj48

    Gee, she's so "one of us"......not.

    July 15, 2014 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  19. Doug

    What a joke. Wall Street is giving millions to the Democrats.

    July 15, 2014 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  20. Blauer_enzian

    Imagine.... our first "Native American" presidential candidate, or so she says....hey, well if it helps get you into law school, why not. The rest of us can call her whiter than thou butt "Lie-a watha". She clains Cherokee heritage because her grandmother had "high cheek bones", but she has about as much Native American blood as King George III did.

    July 15, 2014 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  21. Alan

    Fauxcahontas? BWAAAAHAAAA!

    July 15, 2014 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  22. BruceB

    Funniest story ever, or sadest. Electorate which voted for the man with no experience, the padded resume and grandiose ideas are now enthralled with the woman with no experience, who padded her resume and has grandiose ideas.

    July 15, 2014 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  23. Bob

    Elizabeth Warren :To paraphrase another. Arrogant, sadistic, bully, deliberate liar, intellectually irresponsible, and a fascist. Other than that she's a great gal.

    July 15, 2014 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  24. rand

    What a nice puff piece for the anti-capitalist/Obama clone 🙂

    July 15, 2014 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  25. Ab

    She is the whitest, blue eyed, blonde haired Indian I have ever seen! Actually, her great grand parents WERE at the Indian walk of tears – they were forcing the Indians off of "their" property. Seriously Democrats how can you vote for liars like this? Do you like having high taxes, wars in multiple continents, drones flying everywhere, the dollar worth about 50 Canadian cents, etc, etc...? As for Universal Healthcare – it is just another lie. Someone has to pay for it and demanding "IT" be so in no way ensures that it can be provided. Send politicians like Warren home please. She is a disgrace!

    July 15, 2014 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
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