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. craigmk1974

    I don't know why this Indian is so popular. She doesn't seem like the sharpest tool in the shed.

    July 15, 2014 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  2. MoonBeamWatcher

    Have to love Harvard Professor Warrans attack on the INTEREST rate charged
    on student loans – without addressing the criminal tuitions of $35 to $70 thousand
    charged by the tax-exempt universitys and colleges . . .

    July 15, 2014 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  3. new Jersey Straight Talk

    It is patently unbelievable that a blatant liar like this person can go around for literally years outright lying about her heritage in order to get preferential treatment and not even Democrats can call her on her pointed lies. She is a carpetbagging liar and if this stupid country elects her, we deserve our fate.

    July 15, 2014 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  4. Leo

    Yea ...That's exactly what we need : another progressive sociopath ....

    July 15, 2014 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  5. bjs

    So long as she worships at the "ALTAR OF PROGRESSIVE -ism" ,there is no sin too great not to overlook.

    July 15, 2014 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  6. Skadams

    A sign the Dems are desperate. They're scrapping the bottom of the barrel and this is all they can pull out? Yeah, good luck with!

    July 15, 2014 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  7. nad noillimerg

    rock is dead. liz is a loser and a liar and a flim flam woman. have not we had enough of these self proclaimed wizards who know what is best for us. turn her off and out asap.

    July 15, 2014 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  8. Larry

    We already have a lier in the white house-----–we don't need another one. She lied about her native american status to cash-in on affirmative action. Although she may a tad better than Hillary, she is still a big NO, in my book.

    July 15, 2014 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  9. MJW

    Not while I draw a breath will this lying piece of garbage win a national office. I will quit my job and spend every waking hour making sure everyone who hears the name Elizabeth Warren will automatically think "dirty liar". Thanks Massachusetts, first you gave us the Kennedys and now this no count political hag. NO MORE. The rest of the nation is tired of being run by Ivy League morons. Your colleges are producing nothing but empty headed bafoons that everyone defers to because of how old the buildings are. Good ideas are no longer being generated from the vapid goons that go there to convert money into degrees. Bush, Kerry, Obama, the Clintons, all worthless sacks of flesh and products of an overrated, overpriced system of cronyism and sycophants. It's time to stop the madness.

    July 15, 2014 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  10. Wawel


    July 15, 2014 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  11. Mark

    This is a really bad joke, right?

    Then again, inexperienced, arrogant, anti-American and dishonest seem to be hallmarks of today's leftists.

    July 15, 2014 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  12. Jumpygathers

    Nothing could be finer than Presidential debates between the " Butcher of Benghazi" and the Native American pretender. My leg is tingling already !

    July 15, 2014 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  13. Bob Lynch

    This woman isn't fit to appear on Sesame Street.

    July 15, 2014 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  14. dg

    The Democrat party is being taken over by the far left. They are far more extreme than tea party could ever be!

    July 15, 2014 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  15. SueK`

    Liawatha. Fauxcahontas. The Fake Indian liar. Granny Warren.

    She fits beautifully into the cesspool called Washington, D.C; glad MA is rid of her.

    July 15, 2014 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  16. NoGuff

    She's a liar and a Marxist. NO WONDER CNN is in love with her.

    July 15, 2014 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  17. Flooder

    Far left wing whack job!

    July 15, 2014 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  18. galeestorm

    I am an Indian and I am totally offended by this fraud. She's just another lying fraudulent democrat. She'll be lucky if she ever gets elected as dogcatcher after she's finished this govt job she has.

    July 15, 2014 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  19. Francis

    Pokey, paint your face brown, your hair black!! Didn't ya say you are an Indian??? Just what we need, another fake american!!!

    July 15, 2014 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  20. Daisy

    And I thought Hillary's hair was bad. Why do Dems love their females to look mannish and their males to look femalish?

    July 15, 2014 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  21. CR

    I am suffering from democrat fatigue.

    July 15, 2014 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  22. Adrian Vance

    Will Chief Warren wear her Chawtaw headdress to the Democrat Convention?

    Google "Two Minute Conservative" and when you speak they will listen.

    July 15, 2014 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  23. Givemeabreak

    Just because people lie doesn't make them bad, she got in to Harvard didn't she after being brought up as one of the middle class. Is all you people see is the bad? Why don't you run for president why don't we all run for president or how about none of us vote for these guys and pick someone who is an actual hero. Someone who has saved lives and was brought up with nothing. Give them a chance. Screw these money made politicians and let's choose someone who has made a career out of helping others and donate to their campaign and we run the damn election. We need a fighter someone who defends our borders instead of destroying them. No not someone who just defends but takes action and shows no mercy. Everyone else would treat us with the same decency it's time to give them their money's worth. The United States is eventually going to end as we know it and it'll be chaos. I'm gladly awaiting this, let's see the world get a little shaken up. Human beings care for no one but themselves and this world isn't worth saving unless you people get your heads out of your butts stop trying to be right and actually do what's right. Screw the system let's make a new system.

    July 15, 2014 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  24. belinda

    I can't believe people are continuing the Indian thing. Get real and discuss issues. Republicans, have given Big Business and Banks two separate Billion dollar tax cuts this year. The GOP doesn't even want to talk about changing the unfair tax code and making it less of a rip off for working Americans. The Middle class get their tax breaks taken away and they're handed over to Big Business. It's Corporate welfare. Elizabeth Warren rocks !!!!!!!!! Republicans are always so threatened by Women, they should be.

    July 15, 2014 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  25. Mike

    working hard on their side. Citi just paid a 7 billion dollar fine to settle stuff that happened 7 years ago. Looks like there must be a lot of people working on their side huh Elizabeth. Your freneds Buill and Barney also invented the crisis – they told banks to give loans to people who should have never been buying them because big government thought it could work? Well how'd it work?

    July 15, 2014 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
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