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. CaspianSails

    Her whole premise is just re-hashed progressive talking points. The Democrats have just as much on their hands when it comes to these banks as the GOP. Neither party really wants to do much about it. The progressives just want their message heard even when they don't intend to do anything. Taking queues from the President. Say what you think the people want to hear then take no action.

    July 15, 2014 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  2. mike

    so? is this news? hasnt she always done this? great "scoop" CNN. brilliant.

    July 15, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  3. kimdi01

    Warren, the Native American NOT!,is supporting only so many candidates. Why don't you wait and see how many win, or loose, before you call the liar a "rock star?"

    July 15, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  4. Patrick Henry

    Another pathetic puff piece from CNN. Another illegal campaign donation to the Demkrauts from CNN. Must be embarrassing to be a "reporter" at CNN.

    July 15, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  5. Mark H.

    It is funny to see how the left can completely ignore the world around them. The nations that have the most economic freedom (vs centralized economies or egalitarianism) have a higher standard of living. Income inequality is NOT the driver of low incomes. Vibrant capitalist economies are not zero sum systems. The total net wealth of economically free nations is much greater. Social justice is a straw man for the creation of an economic ruling class. Which type varies depending upon the deceptive fools that implement it.

    Reject this nonsense. If you want a better life, free the economy. I don't care if Bill Gates lives in a $100M mansion if I have a good life. When the rich become equalized, we all implode into the lowest common economic denominator... poor, hungry and misserable. Capitalism works and Warren is wrong.

    July 15, 2014 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  6. Winston

    Warren=McGovern Ina skirt

    July 15, 2014 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  7. JGTheMan

    I would not want this woman to be the president of my homeowners' association, let alone of the United States of America.

    July 15, 2014 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  8. Roscoe Chait

    When criminal bankers and Wall Street thieves are sent to jail, then we may have reform. Right now, all they do is pay fines for their criminal behavior... and where does the money come from to pay the fines? From us. In China, criminal bankers are executed.

    July 15, 2014 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  9. Joe Sorrentino

    So why should we be surprised that an anti-American, liar and plagiarist is a democrat star? No reason at all.

    July 15, 2014 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  10. critical thinking

    After reading most of the comments I would predict that Elizabeth Spreading Bull Warrens chances of being the next President are ZERO. Hillary wont make it pass the Primary, if she runs. Biden is just plain Crazy. So who is left?

    July 15, 2014 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  11. Fred 17

    Warren is another repeat of Obama and Hillary. Absolutely no credentials (executive experience) for the Presidency. Why can't the democrats come up with a qualified candidate , maybe someone like Ben Sweitzer(sp?).

    July 15, 2014 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  12. Anonymous

    Ah, you mean the eminently honest, 'Native American' Elizabeth Warren? That Democratic "Rock Star"? Scraping the bottom of a pretty shallow barrel, aren't we?

    July 15, 2014 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  13. maxonepercent

    Elizabeth Warren lacks the charisma and melatonin required to ever win the Democratic presidential nomination. Minorities are not going to show up in high enough numbers to elect some lily-white rich lady and she simply lacks the charismatic appeal to win over white swing voters. She doesn't even really stand much of a chance of becoming Vice President because Massachusetts has nothing to offer any presidential campaign.

    July 15, 2014 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  14. John Diamond

    Elizabeth Warren is only a rock star amongst dems because she is a radical ,hardcore and unapologetic Hyper-partisan lefty. They love her fake Indian credentials and how she sticks her chin out against any charge of malfeasance. Fuaxcahauntusis... just another millionaire liberal elitist who doesn't want others to share her success. Dems never grow the pie chart, they simply want mandated portioning of a static economic pie.

    July 15, 2014 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  15. Anonymous

    where does the left get all these nuts? I suggest Ms. Warren, you take all your money out of the stock market, the banks and all the other institutions you demonize.

    July 15, 2014 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  16. mrmew55

    Gosh – how these ignorant fools bash her just because she's not a tool of the wealthy and powerful like the rest of Washington! The revolution can't come soon enough!

    July 15, 2014 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  17. The Happy Zombie

    It's about time we destroyed wealth creation in this country. We can never be equal until we are all equally poor, working on collective farms and in collective factories. We are all in this together so we must share in the fruits of those among us who have been so fortunate as to be able to work hard, get an education, show up on time and each day and provide for their families. You see, we are all family and without somebody out there busting their butt to make a buck then well, we'd all be starving. Raise taxes to 50% on all those who are lucky enough to have the privilege to get up early, work long hours and strive to be better. You see, it's just not fair that I don't have that same drive and desire to work, so please keep working so I don't have too.
    Another thing: Doctors, nurses and hospitals should no longer be paid for the services they provide for this work is a service to humanity. Healthcare costs would then drop dramatically and we could all then live happily ever-after in the grandest of worlds.. MAO Jr. for president

    July 15, 2014 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  18. GT

    she plays wall st to make herself weathier just like any other 1 percenter plays it. she'll talk the talk, but god forbid she has to give up the shiny new toys in order to walk the walk. she's a phony

    July 15, 2014 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  19. GT

    she plays wall st to make herself weathier just like any other 1 percenter plays it. she'll talk the talk, but gd forbid she has to give up the shiny new toys in order to walk the walk. she's a phony

    July 15, 2014 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  20. Matt L

    Another leftist academic with ZERO leader ship experience but some really great and "new" ideas – she's so smart – she' s a professor so she must have all the solutions to our country' problems. I can't wait to hear her foreign policy views........are people in this country, while on one hand claim to be intellectually and morally enlightened, really that ignorant and impressionable that they would back another no experience populist panderer to be the leader of the free word? Remember Einstein's definition of insanity.

    July 15, 2014 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  21. Dan Roden

    Fauxcahontas? Are you serious? LOL!

    July 15, 2014 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  22. SHE ...

    Of the Cherokee heritage in order to gain favorable admission.

    July 15, 2014 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  23. babsie

    I'd vote for her. The hell with Wall Street and the bad-mannered trolls on this forum. She may not speak for you, since you are so invested in corporate Wall Street greed, but she doesn't scare easily, - and certainly not by the likes of you.

    July 15, 2014 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  24. Godot

    She called heerself the "intellectual founder of the Occupy Movement" until that began to smell bad.

    July 15, 2014 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  25. Willaim Gunter

    Let me get this straight. Lizzy has made her millions and now she is ready to clamp down on Wall Street. 14.5 million net worth, 8 million in Wall Street investments and a 5 million dollar house. I am one of you, no your not, you do not have a clue. I am sick and tied of all of these rich liberals and progressives tell me they are just like me, BS. Most are duped by this but I see through it. She ahs made her millions on Wall Street and now she could give a tinkers damn about any of the rest of us aspiring to the same.

    July 15, 2014 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
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