Warren en­ters ‘fight of our lives’

Now in race, Dem heads to New Hamp­shire, Iowa

USA TODAY International Edition - - NEWS - Ryan W. Miller and Christal Hayes Con­tribut­ing: Wil­liam Cum­mings

Sen. Eliz­a­beth Warren officially jumped into the 2020 pres­i­den­tial race Satur­day, join­ing a crowded field of Demo­cratic chal­lengers as she faces fresh crit­i­cism over her claims of Na­tive Amer­i­can her­itage.

“This is the fight of our lives. The fight to build an Amer­ica where dreams are pos­si­ble, an Amer­ica that works for ev­ery­one,” Warren said. “And that is why I stand here to­day: to de­clare that I am a can­di­date for Pres­i­dent of the United States of Amer­ica.”

Dur­ing her rally in Lawrence, Mas­sachusetts, she re­ceived some high-profile en­dorse­ments from sev­eral law­mak­ers, in­clud­ing Rep. Joe Kennedy III and Sen. Ed Markey, both key Democrats from Mas­sachusetts.

“No one knows how to fight for what is right bet­ter than Eliz­a­beth Warren,” Markey said. “No one knows how to get un­der Don­ald Trump’s skin bet­ter than Eliz­a­beth Warren.”

She touted her sup­port for pro­gres­sive pol­i­tics, in­clud­ing in­creas­ing the min­i­mum wage and Medi­care for All. She propped up em­brac­ing di­ver­sity and the im­mi­grants who helped build the na­tion, all with a back­drop of Everett Mills, the site of a work­ers strike 100 years ago led by women and im­mi­grants that boosted work­ers rights.

She told the story of the strikes, us­ing it as an ex­am­ple that even those with­out power can work to­gether to shape pol­icy and change Amer­ica.

Warren al­ready faces a sea of high­profile Demo­cratic op­po­nents con­tend­ing for their party’s nom­i­na­tion. Sens. Ka­mala Har­ris and Cory Booker an­nounced their bids in re­cent weeks.

The Mas­sachusetts Demo­crat an­nounced her ex­ploratory com­mit­tee for her cam­paign on New Year’s Eve but hadn’t officially en­tered the race.

Warren, 69, has faced re­cent con­tro­versy over her past claims that she was of Na­tive Amer­i­can de­scent.

She apol­o­gized Wed­nes­day for “not hav­ing been more sen­si­tive about tribal cit­i­zen­ship” af­ter The Wash­ing­ton Post pub­lished a 1986 Texas bar reg­is­tra­tion card where she listed her race as “Amer­i­can In­dian.”

“I’m not a tribal ci­ti­zen,” Warren told re­porters. “My apol­ogy is an apol­ogy for not hav­ing been more sen­si­tive about tribal cit­i­zen­ship and tribal sovereignty. I re­ally want to un­der­line the point, tribes and only tribes de­ter­mine tribal cit­i­zen­ship.”

Warren has apol­o­gized mul­ti­ple times in the past month. In re­sponse to the Post’s story, Warren said she “can’t go back,” in terms of claim­ing the her­itage and that she was sorry for “fur­ther­ing con­fu­sion on tribal sovereignty” and the harm she caused.

In a pri­vate con­ver­sa­tion, Warren told Chero­kee Na­tion lead­er­ship that she was sorry about her DNA test that aimed to prove Na­tive Amer­i­can an­ces­try, ac­cord­ing to me­dia re­ports.

The Mas­sachusetts Demo­crat shared in Oc­to­ber the anal­y­sis of her ge­netic back­ground – which found “strong ev­i­dence” of Na­tive Amer­i­can an­ces­try go­ing back six to 10 gen­er­a­tions. That de­ci­sion faced back­lash.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, who could face Warren in the gen­eral elec­tion, has long de­rided her her­itage claims and of­ten refers to her as “Poc­a­hon­tas.”

Af­ter Satur­day’s an­nounce­ment, Warren plans to head to New Hamp­shire, where the first pri­mary will take place, and then Iowa on Sun­day, home to key cau­cuses, The As­so­ci­ated Press re­ported.

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. ELISE AMENDOLA/AP

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