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. Anonymous

    She will be the first native American Prez.

    July 15, 2014 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  2. Anonymous

    ah yes, the fake indian

    July 15, 2014 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  3. steamboat

    Did you hear that Warren was refused a room at the Hyatt ? Turns out she didn't have a reservation !!! LMAO !!!!

    July 15, 2014 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  4. bczu

    Only hope I have left in this country lies with her. Even if she chooses to run, which she says she wont, and she wins, which she wont. I still dont think anything will change. I wish we as Americans would wake up and see that our futures are being jeopardized by incompetent and corrupt politicians. All of them, both Dem and Rep....they no longer work for us. They work for themselves.

    July 15, 2014 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  5. KR

    A Clinton/Warren or Warren/Clinton ticket would be a very powerful & enticing team for the 2016 Presidential race...

    July 15, 2014 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  6. Chris

    Only hope CNN's writers will draft such a sweet article for the republican candidates... Not holding my breath.

    July 15, 2014 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  7. Dr.Reality

    Warren's demonizing of Wall Street is disingenuous because she and her husband have a net worth of around $15 million and $8 million of that is invested in stocks and bonds. They have an annual income of $1 million and she has long reaped the benefits of Harvard's ginormous endowment invested primarily in Wall Street. Warren is a huckster who likes to play poor and posture that she is an advocate of the poor, when like most Democrat politicians, her true motive is to acquire more power for herself and her party.

    July 15, 2014 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  8. Jack Thomas

    Check out the high cheekbones. She must be a Cherokee indian!

    July 15, 2014 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  9. Tommy G

    So as this clown Elizabeth Warren gets up there and rants about helping the middle class and American families, she supports the Obama-Democrat War on Coal that will put thousands of middle class American families OUT OF WORK. And this Tennant clown that wants to distance herself from Obama claims she will be independent, yet if she is elected she will surely support the Democrat party line and sell her state right down the toilet.

    DO NOT BE CONNED BY THE DEMOCRATS WEST VIRGINIA!! They hate you and one of your main industries. Liberal Democrats think you nothing but a bunch of uneducated, red neck leeches. Why would you EVER vote for a Democrat when they lie to you like this?

    July 15, 2014 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  10. Freedom311

    Remember he claim of "you didn't build that"? Man, does that sound familiar....

    The productive forces are the result of man’s practical energy, but that energy is in turn circumscribed by the conditions in which man is placed by the productive forces already acquired, by the form of society which exists before him, which he does not create, which is the product of the preceding generation."

    July 15, 2014 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  11. Robert

    Get her while she is still just a rumor. Take her out before she grows fangs and can do real damage to the country.

    July 15, 2014 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  12. Roger

    She is qualified... a first rate liar for sure. Seems that is what inhabits 1600 Pennsylvania these days!

    July 15, 2014 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  13. ken e. ray

    She has the required liberal credentials. She's a liar and a cheater.

    July 15, 2014 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  14. Buckeyebubba

    Warren is more Marxist than Obama. Her shrieking, whiney, socialist rants are classic. If anyone things that The Obamunist is a left-winger, then he will appear to be conservative compared to this dingbat. This really shows just how looney her supporters really are...as well as the Dems.

    July 15, 2014 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  15. julie

    Elizabeth Warren could be President Obamas sister. We really need to embrace her so she wins the white house.

    July 15, 2014 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  16. Matrix

    Fauxcahontas is off the reservation again!

    July 15, 2014 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  17. kirk

    the 'native amerikan'...short on 'native' status, long on lies.

    July 15, 2014 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  18. nader paul mckinney ventura

    words are plentiful deeds are precious

    July 15, 2014 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  19. Ted

    Liz Warren says no to stopping illegal aliens from invading our country and stealing all the benefits from her poor constituents. Thanks Liawatha.

    July 15, 2014 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  20. Jenny

    I didn't know Democrats cared about "families" …...having replaced husbands/fathers with US government.

    July 15, 2014 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  21. Glenn

    You go girl!

    July 15, 2014 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  22. Darren

    This is journalism? Does anyone really care that Warren noticed it started to rain? Really??? If CNN wants people to read its articles they need to be more informative and interesting about things that matter.

    July 15, 2014 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  23. DemsRLiars

    The Democrats new Rock Star ? Are you kidding? This woman has even lied about her ethnic background, said she was part Indian when she wasn't. The entire Democrat party is built on lies, deception and fraud. I think America has had enough of it, even the poor are hurting worse than before Obama was elected. He made all these utopian promises to get their vote and then dumped them in favor of his crony friends. People are finally waking up to the deceptive BS of the Dems. And by the way, I doubt seriously is even Hillary can pull them back in, we need real change, real growth and we need our border secured which the Democrat party wants to leave open. We must restore the rule of law in America after 6 years of outright lawlessness by the Democrat party.

    July 15, 2014 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  24. TrueStatement

    The biggest hope I have for this country is for Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to run as independents in 2016 and rescue this country from the corrupt two party system. It's ridiculous to watch the two sides bickering while the NSA and Wall St. laugh at American citizens arguing over frivolous issues while they get off scotch free. Sanders/Warren 2016!

    July 15, 2014 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  25. SSBdMFuhress Savannah

    Messing with Wall Street. Wow. Who does she think runs the world, Politicians? Of course Wall Street has run us into Extinction with the help of Politicians. Eh better days ahead they say and the media plays right along!

    July 15, 2014 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
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