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. johno54

    I'm beginning to love this lady more and more each day I hear her speak. She does have grit and she seems to be under the Republicans radar at this time.
    To me she is the WASP worst nightmare. As a matter of fact I can see her saying to them ok you can legislate against women if we can stop subsidizing Viagra and penile implants along with chemical castration for pedophiles. That would settle so much of our present politics along with immigration.
    I would love her to run because she is Hillary's only stumbling block. As a matter of fact she might even be called a liberal version of The tea party. I would love to see her as Hillary's running mate if not having her own running mate like the independent senator Bernie Sanders.

    July 15, 2014 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  2. mmd

    this lady, Elizabeth Warren, should run for president. she is the hope for this country. I can see sincerity in her smile.

    July 15, 2014 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  3. James

    I live in WV and the polls are not 10 points apart. Capito has 60% to Tennants 30% not even close.

    July 15, 2014 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  4. NealR2000

    I can't wait for the eventual jabs that the Clinton and Warren campaigns have to take at each other to get the nomination.

    July 15, 2014 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  5. silence dogood

    This hag ought to be in prison for the fraud she committed at Harvard Law School. She sold her BMW the day before announcing her Senate run.

    July 15, 2014 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  6. dom diaferia

    Warren doesn't get it. More of the same Obama doctrine. Keep bashing the fabric of what makes this country great.

    Over 100 billion dollars in fines have been assessed to the Wall Street bad guys. Isn't that enough? The system works, violators are punished. Leave the system alone.

    This is all part of income redistribution and "You didn't build that". She hates successful people and successful businesses. She is a socialist in her heart. We don't need another president like the one we now have.

    July 15, 2014 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  7. Joe

    She oversaw the implimentation of TARP. She is an ally of wall street.

    July 15, 2014 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  8. dnhook

    It is absolutely hysterical that the democrat party is latching on to old Fauxcahauntas. HAHAHA!

    July 15, 2014 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  9. Angel Eyes

    She claimed to be an "American Indian" to brown herself. She is not. That is all I need to know about her.

    July 15, 2014 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  10. Hankmeister

    How does a liar like Warren – one of her lies being about her alleged Ameri-Indian heritage – get be serious presidential material? Oh, that's right, she's a Democrat liar and though Democrats rail against Republican liars, thieves and warmongers, they have no problem voting for their own liars, thieves and warmongers. Keep in mind Democrat hypocrites crying their crocodile tears over "the poor" while spouting the need for more tax revenue for an even bigger entitlement government avail themselves of every tax deduction, tax credit, tax subsidies or tax rebate they can every year. And yes, conservatives do too BUT THEY AREN'T THE HYPOCRITES WHO WANT BIGGER GOVERNMENT AND HIGHER TAXES, thereby defining their "compassion" by how much of other taxpayers' money they can spend on whacko neo-Marxist entitlement programs.

    Just speaking truth to corrupt power.

    July 15, 2014 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  11. gordo

    Like most Li bs, she has no clue what wall street does – no idea of risk or risk transfer mechanisms, no idea of the complexities of finance. Take that all away and you have no housing market, no credit or credit cards, no small business loans, no aircraft financing, no re-insurance market (which then jacks the price of insurance). Keep on talking.....regulate away.....run the country right into the ground – like you did when your forced banks to lend to unqualified people with your social engineering......

    July 15, 2014 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  12. robert kennedy


    I bet the endowment that pays her salary at Harvard and her own and husbands investments have money directly and indirectly in the with all of these Wall Street guys. I must have missed the article where she has divested herself from her Harvard pension of $300k per year and her Husbands investments. Here wealth is also estimated at @ $5 mill. Her house in Cambridge Mass is worth $2mill – but Harvard may pay that. Oh by the way, "So you have a Law Degree" Good for you. Now get a job like everyone else someday We all know that you never have had one"

    July 15, 2014 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  13. Anonymous

    She hid in "academia" for the productive years of her life teaching grammar school. How does that qualify her to run a country left in economic crisis, a crisis that her potential predecessor helped deepen with the same party policies she would continue? What in the world makes her qualified to be Commander and Chief? Obama has gutted the DOD to dangerously low levels...all the while our rivals are building up there arsenals. Her potential candidacy is a sad joke. I'm no big Hillary fan, but she is STILL way more qualified (and centered) than this "Miss Jane" . Is this the best America has to offer? Obscurity is her destiny IF there is any hope for America as a prosperous, safe nation.

    July 15, 2014 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  14. BarrysHypocrisy

    While she was bashing Wall Street, did she also talk about how she lied about her heritage in order to get preferential treatment? And got away with it?

    July 15, 2014 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  15. Anonymous

    Last I checked, Harrry Reid and the DEMS control the Senate. What a crock of crap.

    July 15, 2014 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  16. Godot

    She pretends not to like Wall Street and she prpbably doesn't like Shrillary for real. A cat fight is brewing. "What does it matter now, anyway" vs the Phony Indian (for AA purposes) who bought houses at foreclosure sales and kicked the "former) owners to the curb, "middle class family folks" or not.

    July 15, 2014 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  17. sly

    Is she still going around claiming she is a Native American?

    July 15, 2014 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  18. StoneBluffOK

    I would not vote for her. Her family has had its clutches on Tulsa since the 1920's. They own a major hospital. AKA the pink palace, and several feeder branches of it. They literally have cradle to grave care for those who can afford it.

    Money is no object for the Warren family. They even tore down their mother's 1920's mansion (worth about $1.5 million at the time in a historical district) because "mom could not stand the thought of somebody else living in it".

    The Warrens may be from Oklahoma, but they are not "plain folks". They are in the same league as the Kaiser and Koch families.

    July 15, 2014 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  19. zj sky

    Class warfare – that is all she has in her bag of tricks (of trick?). Another far left politician who views Americans as groups instead of one people and wants to change things to suit her warped view of how things should be. Did I mention she lied about being Native American to get her job in academia? I am amazed people will support her. She becomes president and our country is done.

    July 15, 2014 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  20. Tim

    Didn't she bring some of the native Indians from whatever tribe she claims to be part of? Another phoney.....

    July 15, 2014 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  21. Darrell W

    Marxist Senator Elizabeth Warren makes Marxist Resident Obama seem like a Republican.

    July 15, 2014 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  22. LAbelle

    She really gets it. More people like Elizabeth Warren in Congress and this country would not be in the corrupted mess that it's in. She is an example of honesty and decency that most elected politicians lack. We need to elect more people like her that puts this country and it's citizens ahead of greed, corruption and pouring of our tax money into foreign countries. Follow her example and fight for America or we will vote you out.

    July 15, 2014 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  23. Dairyqueener

    Ask Liz about her native American heritage.

    July 15, 2014 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  24. Rick C

    Ah yes, Hunts at Whole Food...hero of the Democrat Party who lied about being an Indian so she could use Affirmative Action to land a $500K a year part time job at Harvard and teach about Income Inequality.

    July 15, 2014 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  25. misanthropolis

    Every criticism she levels at the Republican establishment, can equally be applied to the Dem establishment.
    She needs to drink some TEA.
    The only true freedom is ECONOMIC freedom. The only way to do that is to dispense with failed Keynesian economics and revert back to true free market system, NOT crony capitalism (which BOTH parties engage in).

    July 15, 2014 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
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