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Excerpt: "Warren made it clear that any campaign she launches will focus primarily on economic issues, particularly the theme that America has shifted from policies designed to promote and nurture middle class families to ones that promote the interests of the powerful and rich."

Elizabeth Warren, former chair of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is considering a challenge to Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown. (photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Elizabeth Warren, former chair of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is considering a challenge to Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown. (photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)




Elizabeth Warren, Ready for a Fight

By Noah Bierman and Frank Phillips, The Boston Globe

31 August 11

 

lizabeth Warren has been in full live-wire mode for 45 minutes, joking about her grandchildren, pounding the table as she dissects the mortgage crisis, insisting she will not temper her two-fisted style if she runs for US Senate.

Repeatedly, she declares that middle-class families don't have a lobbyist in Washington, while the bankers have enough of them to pack a senator's waiting room. It sounds like the beginnings of her stump speech.

And when she's asked how she'll handle the chief knock against her, that she's a Harvard elitist - an image that Republicans are already trying to tag her with - her answer is direct.

"There's nothing to handle. It is what it is. I'm also 5 foot 8," she said, holding her gaze on the questioner. "Yeah, I'm a Harvard professor. But I wasn't born at Harvard. I came up scrappy. I came up the hard way."

"I scratched it out," she added, leaking just a hint of her Oklahoma accent. "I took care of myself. I took care of my family."

Warren is the would-be Senate candidate who has yet to declare her intentions, but has made enough moves in the race that nearly everyone who is watching closely sees her as the biggest name in a Democratic field attempting to defeat Republican Scott Brown next year.

In an interview yesterday, the Harvard Law School professor did nothing to dispel the assumption that she plans to run, answering detailed questions about the economic issues she would emphasize in her campaign and the patchwork details of her personal story.

Warren, 62, has returned to Massachusetts after a stint in Washington where she led a panel that monitored the banking bailout and then established the new federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at President Obama's behest. Both jobs put her at odds with Republicans who said she was too hostile toward business to effectively lead the agency and ultimately, Obama declined to nominate her.

She now talks as someone who has been to Washington, seen its dysfunction firsthand, and come away wanting to reform it. While Brown emphasizes crossing the aisle to find compromise, she talks about fighting. And she does it without apology.

"There are some things worth fighting for and right now it's about fighting for the middle class," she said more than once.

"It's about being willing to take a good idea and fight for it," she said later. "It's being willing to throw your body in front of a bus to block bad ideas."

Democratic leaders in Massachusetts and Washington are convinced the Oklahoma native is the best chance the party has to recapture Edward M. Kennedy's Senate seat. She has spent the last month speaking with small invitation-only groups of Democrats, generating excitement within the party's rank-and-file.

But she has yet to face any voters outside that circle, including the independents and conservative Democrats who helped elect Brown in last year's special election. Her success, if she runs, will depend in great part on her ability to blunt the GOP attacks on her Harvard and Washington ties and to sell herself as a populist fighting for their interests.

To do that, she'll have to convince voters that her personal story is as much a part of her character as her Ivy-League credentials.

In an hourlong interview, she spoke often of the now-familiar story of her humble roots in Oklahoma. Her parents struggled financially, almost losing their home after her father had a heart attack. But it was also a time, she said, when the government made it possible for a woman who married at 19 and dropped out of college to get an education that led her to the Harvard Law School faculty in 1992.

"I came out of a hard-working middle class family," she said. "I lived in a America that created opportunities for kids like me."

"I now see an America in which our government works for those who already have money and already have power," she said.

Warren staked out traditional liberal Democratic positions on several big issues: She supports abortion rights, gun control, and gay marriage, but she opposes casinos, even as her political consultant is a lobbyist, Doug Rubin, working on behalf of a major gambling enterprise. She defended her hiring of Rubin, saying it was a practical decision because of his history of managing successful campaigns, most notably his work for Deval Patrick.

But she declined to offer specifics on where she differs with Brown or Obama. Nor would she say when she will decide whether she will run, only saying she will make up her mind after Labor Day. She has committed to teaching two classes at Harvard for the fall semester.

Warren made it clear that any campaign she launches will focus primarily on economic issues, particularly the theme that America has shifted from policies designed to promote and nurture middle class families to ones that promote the interests of the powerful and rich. It is a drumbeat Warren has sounded for more than a decade, in her writing and in her public appearances.

She talked with pride yesterday of how she walked the halls of Congress, knocking on lawmakers' doors trying to sell them on the idea of creating a powerful consumer credit agency that would toughen the laws regulating the country's financial institution. "I would walk out of a senator's office and the office would be completely jammed with lobbyists who were there to explain why the consumer agency was bad," she said. "There was not enough room for them to sit down."

In the end she won passage. With Obama's support and Brown's critical vote, the agency was created as part of the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform Bill.

As Warren now focuses her energy on whether to run, she looks toward a crowded Democratic field.

Already in the race are: Setti Warren, the mayor of Newton; Alan Khazei, cofounder of City Year; state Representative Thomas P. Conroy; Bob Massie, the 1994 nominee for lieutenant governor; Herb Robinson, a Newton engineer; and Marisa DeFranco, a North Shore attorney.

Warren, though, has her sights on Brown. She said she has only met the senator once, while in Washington. It was a chance encounter when they were both invited to a dinner at a private home this spring. By her account, it wasn't a very remarkable meeting. She said she and Brown spent little time chatting.

"It was a cast of thousands," she said. "It was hello."

 

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+122 # AndreM5 2011-08-31 11:19
Go get 'em, Elizabeth! You are the freshest, strongest voice aligned with the Democratic Party in years. Although I have to admit that I worry that your being in the Senate would bury you under a pile of Repub spin/crap and wimpish Demo (lack of) leadership, all to stifle your strident message. Isn't there a way to amplify Warren without having to soil her with the money mongrels needed to mount a campaign against Brown? Sanders can do it in VT but that ain't MA.
 
 
+7 # vitobonespur 2011-09-02 11:51
Yes, there is a way. Nominate her for President.
 
 
+127 # bvinson 2011-08-31 11:36
I wish her all success. It's so refreshing to have a candidate with good sense and integrity.
 
 
+35 # tomhanigan@gmail.com 2011-08-31 12:36
Quoting bvinson:
I wish her all success. It's so refreshing to have a candidate with good sense and integrity.

DITTO!
 
 
+37 # Rara Avis 2011-08-31 11:53
That's the stuff!
 
 
+61 # Barbara K 2011-08-31 12:23
You have lots of people out here who are on your side. We wish you the best and I know you would be a great Senator. and we need more great senators. Go get 'em, Ms. Warren!!
 
 
+62 # X Dane 2011-08-31 12:27
OH, I do hope she will run for Scott Brown's seat. We sure need her strength and honesty in the senate.
That also means that WE CITIZENS need to SUPPORT, her for we know that banks and big money interests, all the ones that certainly are NOT interested in helping the middle class, will throw a LOT of money against her.

It will be intersting to see if CITIZENS can do ANYTHING against the big money interests. Or if we are forever doomed????
 
 
+45 # MainStreetMentor 2011-08-31 13:08
Dr. Warren: I'll be supporting your every effort, but please ... be very wary, be especially mindful of the underhandedness that can, (and usually does) accompany elections of late. I would not want your integrity questioned, nor your reputation impugned to any degree. You can win this fight, it it's kept fair and above board, and only the true issues addressed. YOU CAN DO THIS!
 
 
+52 # Vardette 2011-08-31 13:13
I am getting doen on my knees and praying that she will run!!! These are the kinds of people we need to run our government! Honest, ethical, smart people.
 
 
+36 # Doctoretty 2011-08-31 13:29
Our heroine! But is she mighty enough to prevail? No matter what state we live in, she is a hope for all of us and we MUST support her!
 
 
+31 # Saberoff 2011-08-31 13:29
Sounds very good; in the last couple of days we've heard about Democrats interested in FIGHTING, for a change.

"I'm also 5 foot 8" (funny). Right, like Ivy-League credentials, and being smart, is a negative (how the hell did we get here?).

Scott Brown: The centerfold joke! I don't understand (lest through the MSM's Stupefying Down Americans Campaign) how Senator Kennedy's seat could ever have gone that way the first place.

Thank you Ms. Warren,

ALL BEST!!
 
 
+28 # joey 2011-08-31 14:02
being a harvard professor(eliti st)doesn't scare me.the only people that would matter to are the people that wouldn't vote for her anyway. not because of what she says, or how she thinks, but because she is a democrat.throw it back at them. at least you were smart enough to go to harvard. that's what i am looking for. wouldn't it be beneficial to have smart people in government? it would be a nice change of pace anyway
 
 
+25 # russinaustin 2011-08-31 14:20
Yes, go for it! And speak up, Progressives! We ALL need a Democratic fighter in the Senate!
 
 
+12 # Erdajean 2011-08-31 17:31
We need a Democratic fighter in the Presidency! Let's have a campaign by a REAL person against Mr. Elitist Personified, Barack Obama. Those of us who are not billionaires, nor CEOs, those of us whose shoulders keep the wheels of America turning -- and who put Obama in the White House -- deserve better than we are getting. I believe we deserve Elizabeth Warren. How about it?
 
 
+22 # GGmaw 2011-08-31 14:54
I'd vote for Elizabeth Warren for President!!!!!! !!!! She and Pelosi have more gonads than all the Dimocrats in Congress.
 
 
+33 # Bill Clements 2011-08-31 15:00
I have to say, the more I hear from Elizabeth Warren, the more I find myself thinking that she, or someone with her intelligence, spunk, and focus on middle class families, should run against Obama! Sorry to all those who might take offense, but do you hear Obama (or more importantly, do you believe him) when he tells you he's going to the mat for middle class families? Yes, candidate Obama might be saying these things, but President Obama has not followed through exactly with the requisite actions. So, who but someone like an Elizabeth Warren will put the necessary pressure on him to translate words into action?
 
 
+16 # Krulick 2011-08-31 15:18
Someone who already stands head and shoulders above EVERY current and potential Repub prez candidate! And Obomber!

Warren for President 2012!
 
 
+28 # angelfish 2011-08-31 15:36
Elizabeth Warren gives me HOPE that all is NOT lost! God Bless you, Elizabeth, in ALL your endeavors!
 
 
+21 # paflyer 2011-08-31 15:57
Elizabeth is the most qualified candidate I have ever heard of. I have only have the highest hopes for her election. She represents one of the best hopes for this country.
 
 
+18 # fredboy 2011-08-31 16:17
She will be a remarkable, courageous and brilliant President.
Now is the time, Elizabeth. Now is the time.
We really need you.
 
 
+17 # elmont 2011-08-31 16:47
You go girl!! Tell me where to send the campaign contribution. [I back up my political beliefs with a little of that coarse green stuff... It's the only thing that seems to work... sad situation, but there it is]. Please jump into this race.
 
 
+20 # Isar 2011-08-31 17:27
We need more Elizabeth Warrens....and we'll get them. These simple-minded Republicans who are anti-intellectu alism had better start packing their bags and putting their Alexandria houses up for sale....'cause Elizabeth and others will be sending them home! It is time we find well-educated, intelligent leaders to help us solve our problems. We've already tried the guys who we would just like to share a beer with....NOW...w e need to find leaders who don't drink beer and wouldn't share one with us anyway. We need these Harvard elitists...or whatever the Repubs want to call them. They're smart enough to help this country find its way back to being respected, and economically strong.
I want my President and congressperson to be smarter than me...I want them to intimidate the hell out of me. I've got plenty of dummies to share my beer.
 
 
+3 # angelfish 2011-09-01 13:17
Isar, the thing that makes Elizabeth Wonderful is, that she is one of US! Given opportunities to get herself EDUCATED she became what we ALL would want for ourselves AND our children. She COULD and WOULD sit down and have a beer with you or ANYONE else. What separates her from the Elitists who HATE her is her intellect and HEART! She knows what it's like to struggle and strive. The Boobs in our Congress now, have forgotten if they EVER knew what it was like to have to WORK for a living! This is one woman who can and WILL do the needful, straightforward ly and without reservation. She is a Woman for ALL of the People!
 
 
-46 # MidwestTom 2011-08-31 18:07
I see a very smart wealthy person who has fed at the Washington trough for years earning deep six figure wages. I suspect that she may talk strong, but like our President who has collected over $35 million form Wall Street, I would not expect any real punishment of Wall Street or the Fed from this lady. She does not lay our what specifically she would do or promote to help the middle class, other create more of them if they world for the government.
 
 
0 # JohnRussell2012 2011-08-31 20:12
Obama btw took $100 MILLION from Wall Street in 2008. WHY so many people were surprised with his manner of "governance" is beyond me.

I had Obama pegged for a Corporate Shill way back in early 2007. I mean he got a seven figure contract from a major publisher for a CHILDREN's book before anyone even knew who he was... in order to construct the appropriately successful image of wealth prior to his proposed launch for the WH.

This IS a Corporatist nation, run by the corporation, for the corporation at the expense of "everyman!" John Russell, Dade City, Fl.
 
 
+7 # Texas Aggie 2011-09-01 06:40
You see a person who hasn't been associated with Washington until Bush's economic disaster hit. Until then she was solely a Harvard law professor. That Wall St. hates her so much that they spent so much time fighting her program and fighting her as a person should tell you whose side she's on. That you aren't on her side tells us all we need to know about who you really support.
 
 
-19 # KittatinyHawk 2011-08-31 18:10
How about the Poor, the unemployed? Middle Class well that is a cliche...the Middle class are turning downhill.
Why is it every time a Politician is running for something, they can identify with us until they are in the seat?

Would rather have them argue on the facts that the Party is now Republican and they are not going to allow it to get worse, then bludgeon them on their economic stance. I have deep respect for this woman but I do not respect anyone using trump cards. Run on your own initiative not promises
 
 
+23 # X Dane 2011-08-31 19:26
KittatinyHawk and Midwest Tom.
You are diplaying, that you do not know much........nay you know nothing about Dr. Warren.
SHE is the one, who initiated the Consumer Financial Protection bill BEFORE Obama was elected president, and HE asked her to formulate it and write the bill. Tom, you obviously shot off your mouth without reading the article.
First, she was not wealthy, she worked hard to get her education. Second, she has been working hard to help less well off people, to protect them from being fleeced by credit card companies. She also insisted on clear short explanation of the interest charged, so can the crap
about D. Warren she is a courageous woman who fights for what she believes in and for us.
 
 
+3 # Texas Aggie 2011-09-01 06:36
Would you please reread your comment and then rewrite it so that it is more intelligible? I have no idea what point you are trying to make other than you are upset about something.
 
 
+12 # DPM 2011-08-31 18:31
I only wish I could vote for her, but I'm not a MA. state resident. Maybe before I die I'll be able to vote for her o a national ticket.
 
 
+12 # amye 2011-08-31 18:31
Fight the good fight Elizabeth Warren!! Since our President has completely failed to fight for us at all!
 
 
-10 # cauzjoy 2011-08-31 19:01
Hello folks! She is NOT a Democrat. She's a progressive Republican! I love her, but since she's chosen the Republican ship to sail on, I'd like more info.....how does she feel about these wars, pops to mind. Deficit vs creating jobs..........?
 
 
+7 # AndreM5 2011-09-01 07:21
What the heck are you talking about? She is not exploring a run on the Repub primary but the DEMO primary. Did YOU read the article? Jeez Louise. People are such know-it-alls.
 
 
+4 # pbbrodie 2011-09-01 09:39
Where in the world did you get this idea, a progressive Republican? She is about as far removed from the Republicans as one can get. Would you please explain how you came to this conclusion and tell us where you got whatever you are smoking?
 
 
+9 # JohnRussell2012 2011-08-31 19:42
My concern is the pressure of all the "Shills" in the Democratic Party that will attempt to "school" Elizabeth as to "How" things work... in politics. The "Game" is corrupt as hell... having run as a Dem for congress a couple of times.

In order to secure the "resources" required to WIN, one MUST SELL OUT! I was offered a "deal" by a lobbyist moneybag in DC in 2006... Clear cut attempt to purchase my integrity. I'm running No Party Aff. for 2012 as a result of insights gained previously.

The "Game" must be THOROUGHLY EXPOSED! Cause there ain't nobody representing anyone that ain't a person of status and financial wherewithal who can write the BIG checks and bundle 'em in return for candidates and electeds who are more than willing to have their "strings" pulled in return for that campaign CA$H and more.

Lastly, Ms. Warren is plenty WISE to "The Game," and likely will be plenty willing to run on a platform that will counter and perhaps expose, the quid pro quo of American politics thus aiding the cause of the AVERAGE American... WIN or lose. If ever there was a time for gumption, it's now and Elizabeth Warren's gottit! John Russell, Dade City, Fl.
 
 
+8 # Artemis 2011-09-01 03:37
People are crying out for politicians like Elisabeth Warren in government - not just in America.
 
 
+9 # James38 2011-09-01 05:28
Every person excited by Elizabeth Warren needs to remember that electing her is only one part of the process. We must also elect enough Democrats in Senate and House races all over the country to support her ideas. She can not correct the slide into Republican wing-nut chaos by herself.
 
 
+7 # boudreaux 2011-09-01 08:42
Quoting James38:
Every person excited by Elizabeth Warren needs to remember that electing her is only one part of the process. We must also elect enough Democrats in Senate and House races all over the country to support her ideas. She can not correct the slide into Republican wing-nut chaos by herself.


You are so right, the Democratic party needs to get up off their asses and make sure that she is supported, they need to raise all kinds of hell to get her in...I will support her in everything that I can..I hope the people of MA. do the right thing and get her elected, we need her very badly in the senate....Get ou you Democratics and help her....
 
 
+6 # tanis 2011-09-01 06:07
First of all, E. Warren is not a politician. She came to our town to listen to what we thought was most important to Massachusetts residents at this time. She also spoke clearly about herself, that we might know her, not what she MIGHT be. The lady is a teacher. Don't we need teachers desperately in this country. Look at education and its severe decline and how it has brought us to a sad level of existence. So, first let us be educated by a great teacher who wants to teach a lot more than Harvard grads.
 
 
+7 # Texas Aggie 2011-09-01 06:33
If the republicans want to accuse her of being some sort of Harvard elite, maybe they need to explain why the Wall St. bankers hate her so much and contribute so much to Scott.
 
 
+7 # kalpal 2011-09-01 06:34
I have lived in this nation since 1962 and became a citizen in 1971. The more attention I paid to politics the more I became aware that the electorate is mostly disfunctional. Large sectors of the public vote for those who will never lift a finger to represent their interests.

I have yet to see a single instance since I became a citizen of the GOP standing with the middle class and poor against the guys who bribe them during each and every election. Voting for a Republican helps the average citizen as much as spitting on draught cracked dirt aids with growing crops.
 
 
+2 # libero-nos 2011-09-01 11:41
We are getting a good dose of what a politically illiterate electorate, dumbed down even more by fox, limbaw and others like that can do.

To this article, some people of Mass. have said of Scott Brown they like what they see. Of course. He is well aware he's just filler, and can show moderate 'till that seat is permanent. Frankly I hope against the occasion to see what Brown can do for you.
 
 
0 # Guy 2011-09-02 12:16
Not being American ,as your neighbor to the North,and always interested in American
politics,I wish her God's speed.You certainly need more brave and honest souls in charge of your politics.It might just turn out that she has more balls than any of the standing senators or congressmen.
Except of course,Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul.
 
 
0 # Cdesignpdx 2011-09-02 22:08
Ms Warren, you are a credible and valuable 'representative ' with exemplary accomplishments . You are a model for too many of us who are doing everything they can to move forward or just maintain our momentum during difficult times.

All Commenters: Please support renewal of the US dream with a donation to the LIZ CAMP. (will someone please create a Paypal link.)
 
 
0 # publiusinnyc 2011-09-03 07:11
We need your clear strong voice in support of working and middle class citizens who are being impoverished by the economic trajectory our country is following. Please do not drift to the center and reject any advice no matter who it comes from to do so.
 

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