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. Bubba

    Memo to Ms. Warren and all other New England Marxists:
    Please stay out of my state and leave us alone... we already have one Marxist in the White House who's destroying what's left of our industry here in West Virginia. We certainly don't need another one to finish us off in the pursuit of some nineteenth century grand utopian fantasy.

    July 14, 2014 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Solo, the Indian native is the new hero of the Libs. HeHe!

    July 14, 2014 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  3. edwardo

    Nothing like a 1/2%er screeming about Wall sTreet, the BS from Harvard is deep. She can call Hillary a 1%, but it looks like the pot and kettle, whites being black you know. IF this is the best our country can do , we are lost for good! When you think it cannot get worse, it does.

    July 14, 2014 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  4. jamesnyc

    Until Warren can work to get Glass-Steagall reinstated, she is just blowing smoke like everyone else. Further her Student Loan bill was a joke of bill because it used the poison pill of taxing the rich. Pure blatant politics. She needs to do better. I'd like to see that. I think she has some good ideas.

    July 14, 2014 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  5. Quasi Quirky

    somehow, I just see this Cherokee woman as a Gilda Radner wannabe and me (and many of us) with the composure of Jane Curtain. Jane would finally turn to Radner in disgust and disbelief and stop her dead on by calling her an "ignorant slut". Where are you now, Jane? You surely recognize this assault on Radner's character, stealing her satire.... speak up!!... call her out already and let's move on to the next skit. Where are the Janes in charge of the real news???????

    July 14, 2014 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  6. mike

    Harvard Law School listed Warren (a white woman) as a minority because she had self-identified as a Native American. It is obvious that she did so to gain some perceived advantage. I will never trust this woman.

    July 14, 2014 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  7. Wee Willie Winkie

    Lizzie I Be A Injun Warren?! ~:<)

    July 14, 2014 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  8. Kraddock

    Is that a picture of her? I don't recognize here without the feather headdress.

    July 14, 2014 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  9. nate

    She's still a fake indian. Don't forget about that all you short-term memory folks.

    July 14, 2014 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  10. The Happy Zombie

    Mao was certainly a middle class kind of leader and supporter. Just ask the 60 million he murdered.

    NOTE: Elizabeth has said (recorded on film) that she found Mao to be an excellent leader as he knew how to get things done. I have to agree, he most certainly did.

    July 14, 2014 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  11. Bojangles

    She could be the first Indian and female President. Imagine that!!!

    July 14, 2014 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  12. sean

    Looks like 0bama found his mini-me.God help us

    July 14, 2014 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |

    Elizabeth Warren supports illegal aliens. Vote democrats out.

    July 14, 2014 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  14. mtms42000

    Another student of Saul Alinsky.....ugh Communists gaining powder under the radar. Hasn't comrade Barry done enough to destroy our culture?

    July 14, 2014 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  15. CaptainSpaulding

    Ellizabeth Warren: the blonde haired, blue eyed Native American woman who attacks Wall Street bankers after taking millions of dollars from them in campaign contributions.

    She's worth 8 million in stocks btw.

    Warren made most of her fortune in the 90s flipping houses. She bought them for pennies on the dollar and sold them at huge profits.

    During the 00s, she made her name in politics going after "predatory lenders". Those banks that made it possible for people to buy Warren's overpriced houses? Yeah them.

    I'm sure she is a liberal rockstar: a complete hypocrite with support from the least informed, most ignorant in the country. Truly the perfect candidate for the least common denominator.

    July 14, 2014 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  16. Hey

    She awesome. I could easily vote for her for president.

    July 14, 2014 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  17. SteveC73

    Of course she's a rock star to Dems, she's female (if not Native American). They have to do another "first" by putting up a woman for president no matter her qualifications or history. And it helps she's a moonbat leftist, too.

    July 14, 2014 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  18. Tom

    She's a fraud who makes $350000 a yr to teach 1 class at Harvard. How about getting rid of those profs who drive college tuition so high

    July 14, 2014 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  19. Max Menon

    Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders need to be on a ticket!

    July 14, 2014 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  20. No Name

    It sounds like a contender for Hilllary Clinton – should she decide to run...give her hell Elizabeth...
    For the faithful out there – in Hebrew – Elizabeth means 'consecrated to God' and I say – thank God for small favors...

    July 14, 2014 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  21. Sienna Sacha

    First, she has spent her entire professional career benefiting from a lie. Despite that fact that is is white and her entire blood line is WHITE, she has claimed to have Indian/native AMERICAN blood in order to get preferential treatment. Elizabeth Warren is a professional LIAR and we have just spent the past 6 years being governed by a LIAR and that is not working out. Ms. Warren needs to go away and take her lies with her.

    July 14, 2014 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  22. suibne

    straw dog to make Hillary look centrist. both are socialist shills.

    July 14, 2014 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  23. Dave C

    Amazing how people will fall for the same phony politicians time after time. Then they wonder why things don't change.

    July 14, 2014 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  24. Rozznitz

    Warren in 2016. That's all I need to say.

    July 14, 2014 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  25. Paul Griggs

    Sounds like she's perfectly qualified...little practical experience, exaggerates her background, people know little about her...what a joke

    July 14, 2014 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
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