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. mwesley

    Funny how a person who obtained wealth from deceit could come to a state to talk about common working people. All the time being a member of an organization pushing that state into more severe poverty. 16th century salon society at it's finest.

    July 15, 2014 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  2. Walt

    Moa Tse Tung would be VERY PROUD of Elizabeth Warren.

    July 15, 2014 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  3. Malory Archer

    When will she apologize for lying about being a Native American Indian to get a job.


    She didn't lie. Perhaps it's time for you to take off your blinders and educate yourself a little bit instead of regurgitating stale reichwing talking points

    July 15, 2014 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  4. AnyoneButObama

    Just goes to show you how really stupid Democrats are. They adore Obama, one of the biggest LIARS in history. Not a rumor or conspiracy theory, he has been proven to lie many, many times. They still love him. Sorry, but that's just plain stupid.

    Now they're touting another liar who claimed to be part native American Indian, just to get advantage in teaching at college job. How low is that? Yes, it's pretty low but doesn't seem to phase Democrats a bit who are used to supporting liars.

    July 15, 2014 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  5. Anonymous

    Get back to me when NOT taxing the rich has helped the middle class. For 35 years now, we've been destroying the social policies that support the middle class, and building up the policies that help the upper class. More restrictions on unions, more tax breaks for corporations, fewer restrictions on the accuracy of advertising, letting corporations spend more money on political advertising and lobbying with fewer restrictions, etc. and all it has gotten us is fewer middle class and blue collar jobs, while the wealthiest just accumulate more money. Its amazing how stupid conservatives are... 35 years of evidence that Reagan was just flat out wrong, and you guys want to try even MORE Reagan. Please, please get your heads out of your asses.

    July 15, 2014 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  6. Antonio Soria

    The woman is unaccomplished and a joke. Like useless Hillary and useless Obama, we have no use for a useless Warren. Modern day "progressives" are just so ignorant of economics and the consequences of their proposals. It's their policies that are creating a bi-modal economic society ,where the middle-class is shrinking.and both ends are growing, poorer on one end and wealthier on the other. By the way, I'm on the growing wealthier end but am very concerned about the diminishing middle class and the growing numbers of poor. Thank you progressives for being so ignorant of economics (sarcasm)..

    July 15, 2014 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  7. Malory Archer

    Wide Eyed
    Wow! When Drudge links to an article it really opens the floodgates of crazy!


    So THAT'S where it came from!

    July 15, 2014 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  8. rc33

    It's simply beyond laughable. "Everyone else if for Goldman Sachs; I'm for the people."
    And there are voters that genuinely believe this stuff.
    I'm from MA; name one thing she's done thus far to make us think she's actually Presidential timber?
    ...aside from blatantly lying about her heritage in order to climb the ladder of academia.

    July 15, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  9. scoot27

    I don't care what anyone says Elizabeth Warren looks like an American Indian to me.

    July 15, 2014 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  10. Lisa

    Hmmm..a far left harvard grad and professor with one term of senate experience..haven't we seen this dud of a movie before?.

    July 15, 2014 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  11. OK

    Malory Archer
    Wide Eyed
    Wow! When Drudge links to an article it really opens the floodgates of crazy!


    So THAT'S where it came from!

    No kidding. It's like turning on a light bulb at night and watching all the bugs congregate.

    July 15, 2014 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  12. callmeBob

    I like the direction of the democrats with respect to their choices of candidates.

    July 15, 2014 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  13. AlbertG

    Warren is just pushing liberals buttons.. No substance, no actual ideas. The article proves what a lightweight she is with a fawning portrayal of her exit from the car, her smile... Hard hitting news it isn't.

    Warren used to be good at making valid arguments (e.g. "Maxed Out" film), but now she seems to be a shill for crazy leftists who bash private industry ("You didn't build that!"), but ignore the fact that the IRS gave out $10 billion wrongly in "earned income tax credits", or that the VA killed veterans by neglect caused by greedy managers looking to get bonuses, or that the IRS and the EPA are used as political tools to harm opposing parties... or that only 3% of the nearly One Trillion Dollars spent on the "stimulus" program actually went to "shovel ready jobs". She doesn't whine about "cash for clunkers", or the misstating jobs reports to ignore millions of Americans who can't find work, but have dropped out of the labor force.

    Nope – Ms. Warren now resorts to the same old tricks of rhetoric for the uninformed and unwilling to be informed. Another "intellectual" with no actual experience in management, job creation ... except for the job she created for herself by claiming to be a native American. A fraud then and a fraud now.

    July 15, 2014 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  14. Wally Bobo

    E. Warren or H. Clinton....it's their turn, will be the mantra this year. And the sad thing is, the American Gimmiecrates will agree.

    July 15, 2014 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  15. Kevin

    Every time this woman opens her mouth Obama comes out. As a Massachusetts resident I can assure you if this politician becomes president we can kiss it all goodbye. She is even less qualified to be Obama is more extreme that Obama and she is nothing more than a Harvard Elitist who bought the election and will do anything say anything to remain and consolidate power. She and her ilk are what is wrong with this country. He comments about the rich are pure junk. She is part of the one percent the worst of the one percent. Don't be fooled

    July 15, 2014 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  16. Wes Bomar

    Since when did Democrats ever need proof of anything they claimed. If the left says it the lapdog (main stream) press reports it without checking to see if its true. The left wants Warren as President to continue the destruction of this country. With Bill's help Hillary may actually get something done for this country. Bill was left when he first ran but saw the truth and not only listened to the conservatives but actually took credit for things they wanted to do and got them done.

    July 15, 2014 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  17. r.a.t.

    This is the Mdme. LaFarge of American politics. Get her a citizen cap!

    July 15, 2014 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  18. Cary

    Did she wear moccasins?

    July 15, 2014 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  19. Paul Smith

    Claims to be Cherokee (although she is a blue-eyed, pale-skinned blonde); claims "you didn't build that" (to business owners) or "you didn't make that" (to inventors); wants to continue the path of embarrassing, abject failure of Obama and the rest of the dems; but she is presidential timbre while Palin is "crazy"? America is truly lost.

    July 15, 2014 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  20. Sally

    Supposedly, Obama told Bill Clinton that he would give Hillary his support in the 2016 election but has secretly told Elizabeth Warren that he would support her if she ran for president. Either way it goes, we in deep trouble. Elizabeth Warren would be worse than Hillary but it is a bleak future for the working American citizen.

    July 15, 2014 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  21. rip

    She hasn't done a thing since she took office here in Ma. just travels around the country.

    July 15, 2014 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  22. Melvin

    I guess Americans are gluttons for punishment. Haven't we had enough of, "Story time with Barry?" And now many want, "Story time with Elisabeth."

    July 15, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  23. clw0903

    Seriously ! Wasn't this the woman who "lied" about her alleged Native American bloodline ?? She's a nothing, inconsequential, persona non grata. But, if this is the best the Demos can do, go for it !! She would be very easy to beat nationally, vs. the continual "chowda head" mindless voting that takes place in Massachusetts.

    July 15, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  24. J Anthony

    .....and yes, that is in collusion with our government, which is today just about wholly owned and controlled by private banking and business conglomerates.Again, this has gone beyond partisan nonsense.

    July 15, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  25. Onofrio Bacigalupo

    She's worth 14.5 million.

    July 15, 2014 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
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