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. John

    I hope Warren and Hillary are on the same ticket so we can yell a collective NO at them at the same time. Native American is she? hmmmm... Lets start with that.

    July 15, 2014 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  2. tonsquad

    Dumb as dirt, is that the best they have?!?!?!?!

    July 15, 2014 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  3. Walter_Bellhaven

    I donated a few baubles and trinkets to Ms. Warren's campaign.

    July 15, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  4. Sal

    I hope she is nominated. Fauxcohontas is an easy target. She is left of Obama if that is possible.

    July 15, 2014 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Dems are scrapping the bottom of the barrel with this nutjob.

    July 15, 2014 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  6. cmml

    400 people greeted her meaning every progressive in the state of West Virginia PLUS all the people who are as native American as she is.

    July 15, 2014 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  7. tngilmer

    I have come to believe that Democrats are just plain amoral. They lover liars whether it be the Clintons, Obama, or Warren. If you are a liar, the Democrats welcome you with open arms. Now it happens in the GOP too, but just not as blatantly and openly. I guess this is why I have disdain for both parties.

    July 15, 2014 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  8. Anishinabi

    Our problem in this country is ignorant voters who will support any populist who pushes their buttons correctly, whether experienced, qualified or not. A democratic republic requires an intelligent and informed voter. We failed in that regard long ago. We are now an oligarchy ruled by the Left which is bribed into power by Goldman Sachs. Elizabeth Warren is just a Plan B in case Hillary doesn't make the cut.

    July 15, 2014 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  9. Charles

    You'd think that people would have learned something from the liar in chief we have now but NOOOOOO along comes this woman who has lied her way to the top of the pile, she's another empty suit progressive left wing nut job who wants to take from the rich and give to the poor while all the time lining her and her cronies pockets...
    Didn't electing Obama and Moochell teach you libs anything?

    July 15, 2014 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  10. Danno52

    Let's elect a woman 'cause it's so cool!" She may be the incompetent nut on the planet but "It's time for a woman". Sheeesh! Wake up people and vote for the person most qualfied and it ain't Warren and it ain't Clinton.

    July 15, 2014 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  11. Chief Crazy Horse

    Dances with Palor speakum with fork tongue. Ugh.

    July 15, 2014 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  12. Banafsheh

    She is another illiterate and out-of-touch self-promoter who counts on the ignorance of the emotionally stunted to vote for her higher office. The likes of her is what is becoming America's sad downfall.

    July 15, 2014 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  13. JR

    This woman has no appeal for most Americans. She's the epitome of a bossy "nanny". She'll remind adults of that one nag of a teacher they had in elementary school or that old maid aunt of your Mom's who wanted to run the lives of every member of the family.

    July 15, 2014 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  14. Dicere

    This woman would finish the US off.

    July 15, 2014 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  15. WrenchMan

    My gosh this woman is so totally of her medication, she's frightening but a welcome nominee for the Democratic nomination! Barack Obama has embolden the leftists in this country to the point they think this anti-American freak could win! Sadly the Democrats have badly misread their mandate! Is it possible there could be so done to the extreme left of Barry Hussein? Well here she is!! This woman is bat crazy!

    July 15, 2014 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  16. America Today

    Warren is a true dimwit.

    July 15, 2014 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  17. JoeSunCity

    I hope you all think that in 2016 when HIllary rolls over the boob the Repugs nominate from the clown car. The Repug pup tent now basically consists of old angry white men. You have alienated every other group in the country and are going down the drain faster that dishwater. Enjoy the next 16 years (at least) of Democatic Presidents.

    July 15, 2014 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Sad that the dems would push such a complete id!ot like Warren. This could be the next Obama, a totally unvetted lying pos!

    July 15, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  19. Kitchen Sink

    Yeah, Obama builds up Wall Street so his buddy the fake Indian can take em down. Like this is all not part of the plan.

    July 15, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  20. Sly

    She's not new and she's no rock star. She's another progressive opportunist who gamed the system to get a leg up like our current POTUS and Co.

    July 15, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC


    It's amazing how progressives bash Wall Street, the banks and the rich, while talking about "leveling the playing field" and helping the poor, but for some reason, almost everything they do, drags the poor down in to a dependent poorer existence and enriches Wall Street and the banks. Sure, they increase regulations, but for some reason, their regulations seem to allow loopholes, for bug business, while strangling small business. People need to wake up and see these snakes, for who they really are.
    Since the mid-1960s, when many controversial social programs were introduced, America has seen a significant percentage drop in the poverty rate in the U.S. population. it has dropped from the mid-20s, roughly 26%, to the mid-teens, around 16%. The poverty has been cut by at least a third, almost in half.

    July 15, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  22. Jeff

    Is this whack job still saying she's an Indian? Little too much fire-water if you ask me...

    July 15, 2014 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  23. foxghostwriter

    Man...and I thought conservatives hated Clinton.

    July 15, 2014 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  24. Sprdthewrd

    I bet Hillaryoves this. He illy is way too old and is damaged goods. She did nothing as Secretary of State. Bill wants back into the a White House. Enough of these Clintons.
    As for PochahantA, she is a liberal nut ion !!!

    July 15, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  25. BigMac

    The fraudulent Indian

    July 15, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
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