Elizabeth War­ren launches bid for pres­i­dency

Se­na­tor takes up pop­ulist themes in first cam­paign event

Albuquerque Journal - - NATION - BY ELANA SCHOR

LAWRENCE, Mass. — Demo­cratic Sen. Elizabeth War­ren made her bid for the pres­i­dency of­fi­cial Satur­day in this work­ing­class city, ground­ing her 2020 cam­paign in a pop­ulist call to fight eco­nomic in­equal­ity and build “an Amer­ica that works for ev­ery­one.”

War­ren de­liv­ered a sharp call for change at her pres­i­den­tial kick­off, de­cry­ing a “mid­dle-class squeeze” that has left Amer­i­cans crunched with “too lit­tle ac­count­abil­ity for the rich, too lit­tle op­por­tu­nity for ev­ery­one else.” She and her back­ers hope that mes­sage can dis­tin­guish her in a crowded Demo­cratic field and help her move past the con­tro­versy sur­round­ing her past claims to Na­tive Amer­i­can her­itage.

Weav­ing spe­cific pol­icy pre­scrip­tions into her re­marks, from Medi­care for All to the elim­i­na­tion of Wash­ing­ton “lob­by­ing as we know it,” War­ren avoided tak­ing di­rect jabs at Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump. She aimed for a broader in­sti­tu­tional shift in­stead, urg­ing sup­port­ers to choose “a gov­ern­ment that makes dif­fer­ent choices, choices that re­flect our val­ues.”

Trump “is not the cause of what’s bro­ken,” War­ren told an elated crowd with­out us­ing the pres­i­dent’s name. “He’s just the lat­est — and most ex­treme — symp­tom of what’s gone wrong in Amer­ica.”

In a tweet, Trump ref­er­enced the con­tro­versy over her Na­tive Amer­i­can iden­tity, once again us­ing the in­sult­ing nick­name he’s given her.

“To­day Elizabeth War­ren, some­times re­ferred to by me as Poc­a­hon­tas, joined the race for Pres­i­dent,” Trump tweeted. “Will she run as our first Na­tive Amer­i­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, or has she de­cided that after 32 years, this is not play­ing so well any­more? See you on the cam­paign TRAIL, Liz!”

War­ren an­nounced her cam­paign in her home state of Mas­sachusetts at a mill site where fac­tory work­ers went on strike in the early 20th cen­tury, a fit­ting fo­rum for the long­time con­sumer ad­vo­cate to ad­vance her plat­form.

Sup­port­ers turned out in be­low-freez­ing tem­per­a­tures, many hoist­ing signs. “Win With War­ren,” one read. A Mas­sachusetts bak­ery cre­ated “Per­sist” cook­ies for the event to honor the can­di­date’s slo­gan, “Nev­er­the­less, She Per­sisted,” words first spo­ken in the Se­nate to re­buke her.

War­ren’s roll­out rally was a po­tent mo­ti­va­tor for long­time sup­port­ers such as Mo Malekafzaly and Car­los Gar­cia, two long­time back­ers who at­tended her rally from Shrews­bury, Mass.

The choice of Lawrence to start her cam­paign “shows who she’s fight­ing for,” Gar­cia said. Asked if fel­low New Eng­lan­der Sen. Bernie San­ders, a Ver­mont in­de­pen­dent, could pose a se­ri­ous threat to War­ren in New Hamp­shire’s crit­i­cal pri­mary should he get into the race, Gar­cia said War­ren is “such an ef­fec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tor that I think that peo­ple will re­spond to that very well.”

War­ren went straight from her kick­off to New Hamp­shire, home to the na­tion’s first pri­mary, where her cam­paign pro­jected that 350 peo­ple turned out for an event in the city of Dover. She plans to spend Sun­day in Iowa, where the lead­off cau­cuses will be the first test of can­di­dates’ vi­a­bil­ity.

War­ren was the first high-pro­file Demo­crat to sig­nal in­ter­est in run­ning for the White House, form­ing an ex­ploratory com­mit­tee on New Year’s Eve.

She was en­dorsed and in­tro­duced Satur­day by Mas­sachusetts Democrats Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Joe Kennedy III. Kennedy’s back­ing could prove valu­able for War­ren, given his sta­tus as a ris­ing young Demo­cratic star and his friend­ship with one of her po­ten­tial 2020 ri­vals, for­mer Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas.

War­ren en­ters the race as one of the party’s most rec­og­niz­able fig­ures. She has spent the past decade in the na­tional spot­light, first emerg­ing as a con­sumer ac­tivist dur­ing the fi­nan­cial cri­sis. She later led the con­gres­sional panel that over­saw the 2008 fi­nan­cial in­dus­try bailout. After Repub­li­cans blocked her from run­ning the Con­sumer Fi­nan­cial Pro­tec­tion Bureau, an agency she helped cre­ate, she ran for the Se­nate in 2012 and un­seated a GOP in­cum­bent. She has $11 mil­lion left over from her com­mand­ing 2018 Se­nate re-election vic­tory that can be used on her pres­i­den­tial run.

Still, War­ren must com­pete against other pop­u­lar Democrats who will be able to raise sub­stan­tial money. A re­cent CNN poll found that fewer Democrats said they’d be very likely to sup­port War­ren if she runs than said the same of for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den, Sen. Ka­mala Har­ris of Cal­i­for­nia and San­ders. Still, about as many Democrats said they’d be at least some­what likely to sup­port War­ren as said the same of Har­ris or San­ders.

And War­ren’s launch comes at a chal­leng­ing mo­ment for the 69-year-old se­na­tor. She’s apol­o­gized twice over the past two weeks for claim­ing Na­tive Amer­i­can iden­tity on mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions early in her career. That claim has cre­ated fod­der for Repub­li­cans and could over­shadow her cam­paign.

ELISE AMEN­DOLA/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Sen. Elizabeth War­ren, D-Mass., ac­knowl­edges cheers as she takes the stage dur­ing an event to for­mally launch her pres­i­den­tial cam­paign Satur­day in Lawrence, Mass.

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