War­ren’s trip to Iowa tests themes for a likely 2020 run

Miami Herald (Sunday) - - Nation - BY THOMAS BEAU­MONT As­so­ci­ated Press

Newly re-elected Mas­sachusetts Sen. El­iz­a­beth War­ren is in­tro­duc­ing her­self to in­flu­en­tial Iowa Democrats by telling her per­sonal story of eco­nomic op­por­tu­nity, try­ing to lay claim in the emerg­ing 2020 pres­i­den­tial field as a cham­pion for a mid­dle class she says is with­er­ing un­der Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

On her first full day of cam­paign­ing in the kick­off cau­cus state Satur­day, War­ren said her mother’s min­i­mum-wage job saved her fam­ily when War­ren was a child, and en­abled War­ren’s ca­reer as a teacher, pro­fes­sor and now sen­a­tor con­sid­er­ing a presi- den­tial run.

“To­day a min­i­mum wage job in Amer­ica full time will not keep a momma and a baby out of poverty,” War­ren said at a rally in Sioux City. “And it is wrong, and that’s why I’m in this fight.”

A lead­ing Demo­crat in the Se­nate, War­ren has made a name for her­self as an ad­vo­cate for consumer pro­tec­tion and be­come a reg­u­lar tar­get of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump. But her Iowa de­but, be­gin­ning Fri­day evening and con­tin­u­ing across the state Satur­day, of­fered the first glimpse of what she may look like as a 2020 can­di­date.

In this work­ing-class city on Iowa’s west­ern edge, War­ren pro­moted an in­creased gov­ern­ment role in as­sur­ing eco­nomic fair­ness.

“A lot of de­ci­sions that are made in far-off Washington are de­ci­sions that help the wealthy and the well-con­nected and leave ev­ery­one else be­hind,” she said. “We need to make struc­tural change. Big change. We need to think big, fight hard.”

War­ren strayed lit­tle from the theme dur­ing her short speech and ques­tio­nand-an­swer ses­sion. More than 400 peo­ple crammed into the lobby of an or­nately re­stored down­town thea- ter for her ap­pear­ance.

Even when Sioux City Demo­crat Tri­cia Cur­ran­sShee­han asked her why she sub­mit­ted to a DNA test af­ter Trump ques­tioned War­ren’s claim of Na­tive Amer­i­can an­ces­try, War­ren shifted back to mid­dle-class eco­nom­ics.

The test re­sults sug­gested War­ren could have had a Na­tive Amer­i­can an­ces­tor many gen­er­a­tions ago, which she de­scribed as the dif­fer­ence be­tween an­ces­try and hav­ing a con­nec­tion to a tribe, some­thing War- ren says she never claimed.

Try­ing to stick to her mes­sage, she said, “What 2020 is go­ing to be about is not about my fam­ily. It’s about the tens of mil­lions of fam­i­lies across this coun­try who just want a level play­ing field.”

Sim­i­larly, War­ren re­fused to com­ment Fri­day on Michi­gan Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s pro­fane call to im­peach Trump. War­ren in­stead urged Congress to act to pro­tect the spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

De­spite the friendly re­cep­tions War­ren re­ceived, re­tired teacher Carla Hawkins of Coun­cil Bluffs was far from ready to com­mit.

“I’m ready for some­thing good, some­thing bet­ter,” she said. “But I still don’t know enough about Sen. War­ren. And there are so many oth­ers look­ing into it. It’s too early for me to say.”

High school se­nior Mag­gie Bashore said she was cu­ri­ous, but look­ing for some­one younger than War­ren, who is 69.

“We need some­body who is fo­cus­ing on our gen­er­a­tion,” Bashore said. “We need some­one who knows we’re go­ing to be the ones tak­ing care of the planet.”

Though War­ren an­nounced the for­ma­tion of a pres­i­den­tial ex­ploratory com­mit­tee Mon­day, the weekend events had all the trap­pings of a full-blown cam­paign.

War­ren’s staff logged the names and con­tact in­for­ma­tion for those in­ter­ested in more in­for­ma­tion. War­ren her­self said, “I want to run a grass­roots cam­paign,” and urged at­ten­dees to vol­un­teer and con­trib­ute money in small amounts.

Iowa’s cau­cuses, lo­cal po­lit­i­cal meet­ings held statewide and run by the party, are sched­uled to be­gin the 2020 nom­i­nat­ing cam­paign in Fe­bru­ary

2020.

War­ren’s visit is an ef­fort to gain an early ad­van­tage in the state. Other Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial prospects are ex­pected to an­nounce their plans in the com­ing weeks, and have been in touch for weeks with party lead­ers, ac­tivists and po­ten­tial staff in Iowa.

War­ren was sched­uled to meet pri­vately at a Demo­cratic ac­tivist’s home in cen­tral Iowa be­fore head­lin­ing a larger pub­lic event in the cap­i­tal, Des Moines, on Satur­day evening.

SCOTT OL­SON Getty Im­ages

Mas­sachusetts Sen. El­iz­a­beth War­ren meets with po­ten­tial Iowa sup­port­ers Satur­day dur­ing an or­ga­niz­ing event at the Or­pheum The­ater in Sioux City, Iowa.

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