Elizabeth Warren speaks to AFL-CIO

Sounding ever the presidential contender, liberal firebrand Sen. Elizabeth Warren outlined a sweeping Democratic agenda Wednesday that included raising the minimum wage, breaking up Wall Street banks and raising taxes on big business to help shore up entitlement programs and pay for infrastructure projects.

“We know that democracy doesn’t work when congressmen and regulators bow down to Wall Street’s political power — and that means it’s time to break up the Wall Street banks and remind politicians that they don’t work for the big banks, they work for us,” Ms. Warren said in her keynote speech to the AFL-CIO’s “Summit on Raising Wages.”

But the speech may have been most notable for what The Wall Street Journal called “not-terribly-veiled” references to Hillary Clinton and attacks on Bill Clinton’s record in the White House. Hillary Clinton is the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, though she hasn’t yet declared her intention to run. Warren has insisted she isn’t running for president.

Here’s one line from Warren’s speech in which she blasts both parties: “Pretty much the whole Republican Party — and, if we’re going to be honest, too many Democrats — talked about the evils of ‘big government’ and called for deregulation. It sounded good, but it was really about tying the hands of regulators and turning loose big banks and giant international corporations to do whatever they wanted to do.”

As The Journal points out, part of Hillary Clinton’s argument is that Bill Clinton’s presidency presided over the economic growth of the 1990s. And as The Journal notes, Warren was harking back to President Clinton’s 1996 State of the Union address and its signature line “The era of big government is over.”

Warren has carefully couched her statements about a presidential run, saying she isn’t running now. Her supporters hope her keeping a decision about a run in the present tense means she’ll run in the future. They were newly energized Wednesday.


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