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. thunder1road

    Liz is the real deal – a true American with the best interests of the American people in her heart. The right wing will do everything in their power to destroy her because she has the ablility to stand up to their greed, their hate, and their wars.

    July 15, 2014 02:46 am at 2:46 am |
  2. B

    If she runs, she will win. It won't even be close. She could win 35 to 40 states.

    July 15, 2014 02:50 am at 2:50 am |
  3. Truckie

    fauxcohontous is riding the trail that she thinks will lead her to replace the Wiziard of O.

    July 15, 2014 02:55 am at 2:55 am |
  4. lsbrew

    "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."

    Last time I checked the senate was controlled by Democrats.

    July 15, 2014 03:00 am at 3:00 am |
  5. Tom DeWoody

    Peter Hamby–yet another "professional" writer who does not know the proper usage of "its" and it's." For god's sake, buy a Strunk and White's, and use it.

    July 15, 2014 03:02 am at 3:02 am |
  6. Anonymous

    A bit disingenuous to attack wall street for the federal money they were bailed out with to sit on.

    July 15, 2014 03:04 am at 3:04 am |
  7. RollyBobo

    I think progressives wouldn't mind have an alternative to Hillary.

    But nobody should let their long familiarity with Hillary Clinton make them think someone they know less well, would actually be a better president. If you dig deep into the issues, Warren is clearly a worse choice for president.

    July 15, 2014 03:09 am at 3:09 am |
  8. AbnerLouima

    This FRAUD is worth about $10 mill. She claims she is Cherokee but is at white as snow. The epitome of a FRAUD....!

    July 15, 2014 03:12 am at 3:12 am |
  9. GrannyWarren

    Granny Elizabeth Warren lied and said that she was Native American when apply to both college and law school.

    She is a fraud

    Please ... the rest of the country cannot be as dumb as Massachusetts

    July 15, 2014 03:24 am at 3:24 am |
  10. Dub

    Isn't she a Democrat? Wall Street gives more to Obama than it did Romney or McCain. Perhaps she should be talking about Wall Streets special friendship with Obama that's prevented prosecution following the financial meltdown.

    July 15, 2014 03:30 am at 3:30 am |
  11. NightWisp

    Jarrett's little buddy to replace Obama. More of the same with Jarret in control.

    July 15, 2014 03:46 am at 3:46 am |
  12. tine e

    The dems must get the voters out or we will 2 more years of no work congress! I wish i had a job where u did nothing n get paid WELL. MAYBE RUN 4 CONGRESS

    July 15, 2014 04:02 am at 4:02 am |
  13. Warren is no rock star

    Get back to me when she is filling 3000, 5000, 7000 or more the way Ron Paul did... Rand is no Ron, and neither is Ms Warren. She should ask Ms Yellen if she thinks Gold is money.

    July 15, 2014 04:05 am at 4:05 am |
  14. Jj

    Just what we need.

    Another far left freshman Senator who never spent 10 minutes in the private sector running the economy into the ground.

    July 15, 2014 04:11 am at 4:11 am |
  15. coyoteliberty

    The headline link on this says: "NEW: Elizabeth Warren Bashes Wall Street".

    How is that New?

    July 15, 2014 04:19 am at 4:19 am |
  16. Paull CFudak


    July 15, 2014 04:40 am at 4:40 am |
  17. willrojo

    Liz, please give it a rest. Oh, by the way, I DID BUILD my business. What a joke. Does anyone actual listen to her dribble.

    July 15, 2014 04:41 am at 4:41 am |
  18. mary

    Good for her~!
    Great lady.. Decent American..
    They should all be like her..

    July 15, 2014 04:44 am at 4:44 am |
  19. morgan378

    Elizabeth makes a lot of sense and Democrate Senate hopeful Ms.Tennant is also aware of what she'd like for the people of West Virginia – she doesn't have to agree with all things – doesn't have to tow a "Party Line" – can disagree, but have common sense. Enough "helping" Wall Street – what ABOUT the folks of W.Virginia?! Business as usual on Wall Street and they're STILL working on regulations – re-creating the Wheel – when they could've just taken even just a template of Glass-Steagal and began there. All this moaning, "well that regulation is "too harsh", that one "cuts competition", "we need those bonuses to keep the criminals working for us ripping people off" – is a buncha hooie! They're STILL selling CDS's and Derivatives no one at the SEC or Treasury understands. (Odd that Congress itself put up a Bill – voted it into Law regarding "Insider Trading" – but left no way of PROVING IT! – wonder any more why no one from Wall Street is in jail?) Blind Trusts are a misnomer – they find out their portfolio's worth just fine. No one running or gaining office should have financial instruments so as to take even the glance of impropriety off them. What happened to Public Service? Not supposed to get rich doing it and that's why one person shouldn't do it so long! Meanwhile workers in W. Virginia are made to feel ashamed to feed their families! Less for SNAP means MORE for Monsanto!

    July 15, 2014 04:47 am at 4:47 am |
  20. henry difalco

    Just what America needs, another unqualified, incompetent, hopey , changey closet communist like the one we elected in 2008 and 2012.Warren will be nothing better than Obama 2.0 and will complete our "fundamental transformation"

    July 15, 2014 04:50 am at 4:50 am |
  21. everett walker

    Surprise! Another nation-wrecking leftist messiah.

    July 15, 2014 04:54 am at 4:54 am |
  22. Bescaredsheisfulloflies

    This woman is being used as a Trojan Horse for Hillary Clinton + The Establishment (Progressive Republicans AKA Neocons) She directly ripped off Ron Pauls campaigning strategy in an attempt to win over the large gap in the middle... She may speak good but I guarantee you she will sell us down the river. (Just look at who she has campaigned for in the past and who she receives money from)

    July 15, 2014 04:55 am at 4:55 am |
  23. Alcia McHugh

    How does the" Native American" feel about the fact that we no longer have a southern border? This speech was just given on July 14th right? She wants to stand up for families right? But not one mention?

    July 15, 2014 04:57 am at 4:57 am |
  24. Tony

    "Oh, I do hope she's the 2016 nominee!"

    –All Conservatives

    July 15, 2014 05:14 am at 5:14 am |
  25. MainelyDoc

    She's a pathological phony with no experience.. Just what we need in the White House...again.

    July 15, 2014 05:16 am at 5:16 am |
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