Elizabeth Warren: I Don't Want to be President

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Monday, 30 Sep 2013 11:40 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has a wide range of items on her agenda and the political pull to make them happen, but she insists she is not interested in running for president.

Nevertheless, the freshman senator is being mentioned more often as a potential candidate in 2016, The New York Times reports, especially amid growing worry among fellow Democrats about another Clinton White House and disappointment with President Barack Obama.

Warren told The New York Times twice during an interview that she's not interested in the presidency. Instead, she insisted, she chooses to focus on economic fairness.

“This is the work America needs to take on, the work of making certain we strengthen the middle class,” Warren said. “This country should not be run for the biggest corporations and largest financial institutions.”

She's not only careful to tell interviewers that she is not interested in seeking the presidency, but Warren avoids making appearances that would lead people to think she wants to be a candidate.

She declined an invitation from Iowa Democrat Sen. Tom Harkin to speak at his annual steak-fry fundraiser, an event closely watched in early primary states. It's the event where Obama effectively declared his interest in becoming president when he was its keynote speaker in 2006.

But Warren also is taking on issues that animate Democrats, including challenging moderate attitudes toward the economy that started when Bill Clinton became president 20 years ago, and people are taking notice.

“She is reshaping the Democratic Party and leading its charge toward a more economic populist orientation,” said Markos Moulitsas, publisher of the liberal website Daily Kos.

Warren, a former Harvard professor of bankruptcy law who oversaw creation of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, also is attractive to Democrats who think the party's presidential frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, is too closely tied to Wall Street.

Even Bill Clinton is starting to mention her, bringing up the 64-year-old during a CNN interview while defending Democrats' approach to bank regulation.

Even though Warren's plans and personality aren't always appreciated by members of her own party, they seek her out when they need money, because she's a powerful fundraising force. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee found last year that she brings in more money than any other party figure except for Obama and Bill Clinton.

Warren raised $42 million for her own Senate race last year, coming in second in history only to Hillary Clinton among candidates who did not fund their own Senate races.

And if Clinton declines a presidential run in 2016, many top Democrats think the pressure will be on for Warren to seek the White House, said David Axelrod, a longtime adviser to Obama, who called her “an electric figure” among liberals.

And even if Warren says she's not interested in running, polls show she is already gaining public notice, even though she's only been in office a few months. A recent Quinnipiac University poll put her third among the "hottest politicians" in its "thermometer" of voter attitudes, just behind New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Clinton, and Obama by almost two "degrees."


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