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. feed the tree

    The left are amoral, having been corrupted to their cores by the power their established control over the thoughts, habits and fortunes of the individual has given them and they want MORE at any cost. Hence, CNN vomits obvious left-wing propaganda at us like this as if it were journalism because they believe the ends justify the means. In other words, CNN lies to you just like Elizabeth Warren lies to you just like the left lies to you about everything and all for the same reason. Power and control.

    July 15, 2014 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  2. recalcitrant

    She's Hilary 2.0 and did you know she's an American Indian too!

    July 15, 2014 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  3. Keepin it Real

    This would be Obama's pick. Liawatha. She is such a transparent learjet liberal. Keep on pushin her CNN! In 2016, we take back this country, create real job growth, etc. A rising tide lifts all boats. Obama=Domestic Terrorist.

    July 15, 2014 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  4. yippeeskip

    Not exactly the folks you want to "bash"...

    July 15, 2014 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  5. yippeeskip

    She makes Biden look like a Rhodes scholar...

    July 15, 2014 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  6. Chuck

    For those who don't know, Shepherdstown is home to Shepherd University and is a liberal town in a very conservative area.

    July 15, 2014 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  7. Testicules

    There are VERY few people to who I would apply this term;

    But this woman is pure, unadulterated Evil.

    July 15, 2014 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  8. sifto77

    Hilary will have to raise her cheekbones and change her name to hilahontas...

    July 15, 2014 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  9. RDK

    Go Lisbeth go! Convince Hillary fans that you can be a better liberal. progressive fascist.

    July 15, 2014 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Paul Fisher – it is each persons job to work for them selves – its not the governments job . She is just another progressive who wants to destroy our freedom and take our liberty away . With 8 years of Obama we will not survive 4-8 years of another progressive.

    July 15, 2014 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  11. Matt

    Another puppet.

    July 15, 2014 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  12. Tony

    Same old tired socialist policies we've seen before. Electing her would simply be a third term of Obama. No thanks!

    July 15, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  13. Testicules

    It is absolutely terrifying that her brand of low brow agitprop could actually seduce, instead of repulse, any notable number of people in America today.

    Are we doomed to our own Hitler, Stalin, or Pol Pot?

    I blame the Teachers Unions.

    July 15, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  14. atkoa

    Apparently her wealth is not an issue, but Mitt Romney"s wealth was an issue with the left. What happened to Hillary the "shoe in"? The Democrats are already dumping her?

    July 15, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Jon Corzine was Chairman of Goldman Sachs and was on President Obama's short list to be SecTreas. He also 'lost' a billion or so of investors' cash (retirement funds) a few years ago and the investigation into campaign finance chicanery was dropped by or DOJ. Why bash Goldman when your party is in bed with them?

    July 15, 2014 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  16. Franklin

    She is cut from the same cloth as the dear one. He is said to support her over Hillary as Warren is closer to his beliefs and most likely will carry on his legacy. God help us.

    July 15, 2014 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  17. Testicules

    It is absolutely terrifying that her brand of low brow agitprop could actually seduce, instead of repulse, any notable number of people in America today.

    Are we doomed to our own "notorious 1930s-40s German leader", Stalin, or Pol Pot?

    I blame the Teachers Unions.

    July 15, 2014 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  18. mike b

    How! Kemosabe! We need an Indian in the White House.

    July 15, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  19. Devin Robertson

    Same "folksy, down-to-earth" BS that Patty "The Grandmother in Tennis Shoes" Murray pulled during her Humble-Yet-Noble senate campaign........

    July 15, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  20. Dutchie

    Cherokee people! Cherokee pride! Elisabeth Warren will not only be our first president, but our first woman of color president, and our first native American president!.......

    July 15, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  21. Willy Brown

    She's 100% Slapaho for sure

    July 15, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  22. Michael

    The last thing this country needs with our already weak economy is this anti-bank, anti-business, anti-growth, faux Native American. We don't need to turn into a European Socialist state ( already gone far enough down that road over the last 6 years ) She's also a millionaire so that wouldn't work well with the simpleminded class warfare strategy the Dims usually employ.

    July 15, 2014 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  23. AmidMany

    I understand why people believe her. I blame the school system.

    July 15, 2014 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  24. Anyonymous

    Yes. The New World Order's next big candidate to tab because Hillary Clinton likely can't get elected.

    July 15, 2014 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  25. Help America

    How is Sen. Warren qualified to be President of the most powerful country in the world?

    July 15, 2014 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
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