Elizabeth Warren shines in Charlotte


Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren speaks during day two of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on September 5, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.


Alex Wong

CHARLOTTE, NC — Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts was a crowd favorite Wednesday evening at the Times Warner Cable Arena, where she gave a fiery speech for the Democratic National Convention.

The applause was loud and sustained from the minute the diminutive law professor walked out onto the stage. Warren, who is in a very tough race against incumbent Sen. Scott Brown, did not mention Brown once in her speech.

Instead, she threw her considerable rhetorical talents squarely behind President Barack Obama.

“President Obama believes in a level playing field,” she said. “He believes in a country where nobody gets a free ride or a golden parachute, a country where anyone who has a great idea and rolls up their sleeves has a chance to build a business, and anyone who works hard can build some security and raise a family.”

Warren listed many more attributes of the America in which Obama believes, gaining applause each time she hit her refrain:

“President Obama believes in a country where billionaires pay their taxes just like their secretaries do,” she said. “And I can't believe I have to say this in 2012: a country where women get equal pay for equal work. He believes in a country where everyone is held accountable, where no one can steal your purse on Main Street or your pension on Wall Street.”

Warren was scathing when it came to Republican challenger Mitt Romney, who, she said believes in a different America.

“Mitt Romney — he wants to give tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires, but for middle-class families who are hanging on by their fingernails, his plan will hammer them with a new tax hike of up to $2,000. Mitt Romney wants to give billions in breaks to big corporations, but he and Paul Ryan would pulverize financial reform, voucherize Medicare and vaporize Obamacare.”

Mitt Romney, she intoned, believes that “corporations are people.”

“No, Governor Romney, corporations are not people!” she said, as the hall erupted. “People have hearts. They have kids. They get jobs. They get sick. They cry, they dance. They live, they love, and they die, and that matters … that matters because we do not run this country for corporations. We run it for people, and that is why we need Barack Obama.”

In contrast to her accolades for America, Warren seethed: “The system is rigged” against the non-rich.

On Thursday, her Massachusetts rival, Sen. Brown, said that remark was far too bleak.

“It’s such a depressing message,” Brown told cable TV’s NECN. “I’m a hopeful person, I believe in the good in everybody. We have the ability to see the good in everyone and solve these very real problems.” 

Warren was a star at the convention; everywhere she went, she was besieged by delegates who shouted “Liz! Liz!” as she passed by.

The Democrats are mounting a determined bid to gain a majority of seats in the Senate this November After the 2010 mid-term elections, the Republicans took control of the House, but they need four more seats to make a clean sweep of the Senate as well.

Many have pointed to the uncompromising, even obstructionist stance of the House since 2010; if the senate also tilts to the GOP, then many important initiatives, including Obama’s Affordable Care act, could be in jeopardy.

This strengthens the Democrats’ resolve to hold on to their slim advantage in the Senate. If Warren can unseat Brown, who won Ted Kennedy’s traditionally Democratic seat after the iconic lawmaker died of brain cancer in 2009, then they have a good chance of keeping the Republicans in check.

The race is close, and Warren has been lagging behind. She may hope for a bump from her performance in Charlotte, an judging by the response in the hall, she just may get it.