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Elizabeth Warren on Principles & Values

Massachusetts Senator; former head of CFPB; Dem. Presidential Challenger

 


My motto is Mathew 25, about the "least of these"

Q: What is your motto?

WARREN: My motto is Mathew 25, and that is, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of these, the least of thy brethren, ye have done it unto me." For me this is about how we treat other people and how we lift them up. That is why I am in this fight. That is why I am running to be president, and it is why I will be an effective president.

Source: 10th Democratic Primary debate on eve of S.C. primary , Feb 25, 2020

Re-establish the rule of law: investigate government

No one is above the law, and that includes the President. We watched as Republicans locked arms to protect him from impeachment, but we need to reestablish the rule of law. I believe in our justice department that investigates crimes committed by our own government. It is an important part of accountability. It is an important part for every administration, that we hold ourselves accountable to the American people. Look, people around this country are losing faith in our government.
Source: 8th Democrat 2020 primary debate, St. Anselm College in NH , Feb 7, 2020

Committed to grassroots campaign with small donations

It's about talking to people and listening to people and trying to build a grassroots movement. I made the decision right at the beginning that I was not going to spend my time in closed-door fundraisers, I was not going to sell access to my time to millionaires and billionaires and corporate lobbyists, that I was going to fund this grassroots and I was going to build this grassroots.
Source: CNN N. H. Town Hall on eve of 2020 N. H. primary , Feb 5, 2020

Women candidates out-perform men candidates

Since Donald Trump was elected, women candidates have out-performed men candidates in competitive races. And in 2018, we took back the House; we took back statehouses, because of women candidates and women voters. Look, don't deny that the question is there. Back in the 1960s, people asked, "Could a Catholic win?" Back in 2008, people asked if an African-American could win. In both times the Democratic Party stepped up and said yes, got behind their candidate and we changed America.
Source: 7th Democrat primary debate, on eve of Iowa caucus , Jan 14, 2020

Prosecute Trump for corruption and violating constitution

I see this as a constitutional moment. We've now seen the impact of corruption, and what's clearly on the stage in 2020, is how we are going to run against the most corrupt president in living history. This president has made corruption, originally, his argument, that he would drain the swamp. And yet he came to Washington, broke that promise, and has done everything he can for the wealthy and the
Source: December Democratic primary debate on impeaching Trump , Dec 19, 2019

I don't sell access to my time to big-dollar donors

I do not sell access to my time. I don't do call-time with millionaires and billionaires. I don't meet behind closed doors with big dollar donors. If you want to donate to me, that's fine, but don't come around expecting to be named ambassador. If you can't stand up to the wealthy when it's relatively easy when you're a candidate, how can the American people believe you're going to stand up to the wealthy and well-connected when you're president and it's really hard.
Source: Newshour/Politico/PBS December Democratic primary debate , Dec 19, 2019

Ignoring Mueller Report means president is above the law

Q: You have said already that you've seen enough to vote to convict the president and remove him from office. Will you try to convince your Republican colleagues in the Senate to vote the same way?

WARREN: Of course I will.

Q: How?

WARREN: The obvious answer is to say, "First, read the Mueller report, all 442 pages of it." That showed how the president tried to obstruct justice, and when Congress failed to act at that moment, and that the president felt free to break the law again and again and again. And that's what's happened with Ukraine. We have to establish the principle: no one is above the law. We have a constitutional responsibility, and we need to meet it. But I want to add:

Source: November Democratic primary debate, on Mueller Report , Nov 20, 2019

Impeachment is about more than Trump

Sometimes there are issues that are bigger than politics. I think that's the case with this impeachment inquiry. No one is above the law and that includes the President of the United States. Impeachment is the way that we establish that this man will not be permitted to break the law over and over without consequences. This is about Donald Trump but understand it's about the next president and the next president and the next president and the future of this country.
Source: October Democratic Primary debate on impeaching Trump , Oct 15, 2019

Would be oldest president; ready to fight for the people

Q [to BIDEN]: If you're elected you will turn 80 during your first term. Former President Jimmy Carter said he could not have. undertaken the duties of the presidency at 80. Why are you so sure you can?

V.P Joe BIDEN: Because I've watched it, I know what the job is. One of the reasons I'm running is because of my age and my experience. With it, comes wisdom.

Q [to WARREN]: You would be the oldest president ever inaugurated on a first term. You'll be 71. 40% of Democratic primary vot think a candidate under the age of 70 is more likely to defeat President Trump. What do you say to them?

WARREN: I say I will out-work, out-organize and outlast anyone, and that includes Donald Trump, Mike Pence, or whoever the Republicans get stuck with. Democrats will win when we fight for the things that touch people's lives, things like childcare and healthcare and housing costs, Democrats will win when we give people a reason to get in the fight.

Source: October Democratic CNN/NYTimes Primary debate , Oct 15, 2019

Ready to use executive authority for the people

Following the financial crash of 2008, I had an idea for a consumer agency that would keep giant banks from cheating people. Sure enough, the big banks fought us, the Republicans fought us, some of the Democrats fought us, but we got that agency passed into law. It has now forced big banks to return more than 12 billion dollars directly to people they cheated. I served in the Obama administration. I know what we can do by executive authority and I will use i
Source: October Democratic CNN/NYTimes Primary debate , Oct 15, 2019

I'm not a Democratic Socialist; we can gain from markets

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren said that she is not a Democratic Socialist, drawing a line between herself and Bernie Sanders, whose views draw frequent comparisons between the two. Sanders, an independent from Vermont, identifies as a Democratic Socialist, and Warren was asked to differentiate.

"Bernie has to speak to what Democratic Socialism is," replied Warren. The interview asked, "And you are not one?"

"I am not. And the centrists have to speak to whatever they are doing. What I can speak is to is how I am doing," Warren said.

She continued: "All I can tell you is what I believe. And that is there is an enormous amount to be gained from markets. That markets create opportunities. Markets have to have rules. They have to have a cop on the beat," she said, adding that "markets without rules are theft."

Source: CNN.com on 2019 SXSW South-by-Southwest conference , Mar 9, 2019

OpEd: Women in politics are called "shrill" & face prejudice

In my experience, the balancing act women in politics have to master is challenging at every level, but it gets worse the higher you rise. If we're too tough, we're unlikable. If we're too soft, we're not cut out for the big leagues. If we work too hard, we're neglecting our families. If we put family first, we're not serious about the work. If we have a career but no children, there's something wrong with us, and vice versa. If we want to compete for a higher office, we're too ambitious. Can't we just be happy with what we have? Can't we leave the higher rungs on the ladder for men?

Think how often you've heard these words used about women who lead: angry, strident, feisty, difficult, irritable, bossy, brassy, emotional, abrasive, high-maintenance, ambitious. The linguist George Lakoff both identified this problem and embodied it when he said about Senator Elizabeth Warren, "Elizabeth has a problem. She is shrill, and there is a prejudice against shrill women."

Source: What Happened, by Hillary Clinton,p. 119 , Sep 12, 2017

Dropped out of college at age 19 to get married

At 17, I headed off to college on a scholarship. Two years later, Jim Warren took me out for a cheeseburger and proposed. We were married less than eight weeks later.

I know it sounds nuts. How could I have said yes? I was halfway to graduation and my teaching certificate. But I didn't hesitate to drop out of college and marry Jim.

For 19 years I had absorbed the lesson that the best and the most important thing any girl could do was "marry well." And for 19 years I had also absorbed the message that I was a pretty iffy case--not very pretty, not very flirty, and definitely not very good at making boys feel like they were smarter than I was. So when Jim popped the question, I was so shocked that it took me about a nanosecond to say yes.

I was going to get to be a wife & mother, after all. I was walking on air. And that whole plan to go to college and teach? My mother had predicted that it would go away, and now I supposed she was right. I finished up my degree with correspondence courses.

Source: This Fight is Our Fight, by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, p.110-1 , Apr 18, 2017

We cannot let the American Dream die

I spoke about an America that had given chances to women like Hillary and me--she the granddaughter of a factory worker and me the daughter of a janitor. It was the America of opportunity.

We believe in that America. That is the America we fight for.

We believe, but we are worried--worried that those opportunities are slipping away. In fact, a lot of America is worried--worried and angry. Angry that far too often Washington works for those at the top and leaves everyone else behind.

I laid it out as best I could. This is about our values, I said, about the things we believe in, the reasons we get up every day and work as hard as we can. About debt-free college and expanded Social Security. About science and climate change. About our capacity to invest together to create something better.

We believe that millionaires and billionaires and giant corporations should not be able to buy our elections and our politicians. Corporations are not people.

Source: This Fight is Our Fight, by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, p.217-8 , Apr 18, 2017

Scapegoating the "other" lets rich guys run America

In the past, the belief that some less powerful group in America was to blame for everything that had gone wrong had gained force at times exactly like this one, times when Americans were angry and worried about our future. Racial hatred, religious bigotry, attacks on immigrants or women or gays: stoking the fears of the "other" is the oldest trick in the book. Whatever worries you, the solution is to scapegoat that other group--which means you'll never demand the changes that would actually fix our problems.

Who benefits? I'll tell you exactly who benefits: When we turn on each other, bankers can run our economy for Wall Street. When we spend our energy attacking immigrants, oil companies can fight off clean energy. When we argue over who got more crumbs of food stamps, giant corporations can ship the last good jobs overseas. When we turn on each other, rich guys can push through more tax breaks for themselves.

Source: This Fight is Our Fight, by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, p.229-30 , Apr 18, 2017

We need to fight hard, tirelessly for our core principles

It's up to us. This fight is our fight. Yes, different battlefields will emerge over time, and our tactics will evolve. No general maps out every clash in advance and then adheres rigidly to a plan; that's the path straight to failure. Smart fighters improve their strength, train hard, & deepen their resolve. They create new weapons and upgrade old ones. They develop greater discipline. They adapt. They keep a sharp eye out for advantages. Then, when they commit, they fight like there is no tomorrow. And that's exactly what we must do.

We've also got to be prepared to lose some battles. Without control of Congress or the White House, we will often come up short. We simply don't have the tools and the weapons to win every time. But that doesn't mean we are powerless. It doesn't mean we should not fight back.

To rebuild an economy that works for everyone--we need to be clear about our values. We need, in other words, to be clear about our core principles.

Source: This Fight is Our Fight, by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, p.247-8 , Apr 18, 2017

Fight back against band of billionaires, bankers, & bigots

In an America led by Donald Trump and a band of billionaires, bankers, and bigots, how can we go about making this change real?

We stand up and we fight back--and we do so on a very personal level. We start with clarity about the principle we are fighting for: everybody counts and everybody gets a chance to build something. Or to say it another way: America must be a country that respects every human being and that builds opportunity not just for some of us, but for all of us. We fight for a country we can believe in.

Collective action begins with individual action, and each of us must find our own way to speak up.

Our country's future is not determined by some law of physics. It's not determined by some preordained path. It's not even determined by Donald Trump. Our country's future is up to us. We can let the great American promise die or we can fight back. Me? I'm fighting back.

This fight is our fight.

Source: This Fight is Our Fight, by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, p. 256-63 , Apr 18, 2017

Supported Republicans for years prior to political career

While she is often criticized and condemned for being too liberal or unwavering on her positions, this compilation shows that her wide-ranging ideas actually coalesce into a consistent argument in support of the American middleclass. Surprisingly, Warren supported the Republican Party many years before her political career began, believing that it supported financial growth and independence better than the Democratic alternatives. However, as her interest and knowledge grew in finance, law, and politics, the reasons behind the exponential financial increase in disparity between the rich and poor Americans.
Source: Quotable Elizabeth Warren, by Frank Marshall, p. viii , Nov 18, 2014

Registered Independent & Republican in Pennsylvania in 1990s

Q: It might surprise a lot of your supporters to know that you were a registered Republican as recently as 1996, in Pennsylvania, from 1991 to 1996.

WARREN: I think it's four [years]..

Q: What drew you to the GOP and why did you leave?.

WARREN: I was originally an independent. I was with the GOP for a while because I really thought that it was a party that was principled in its conservative approach to economics and to markets. And I feel like the GOP party just left that. That they moved to a party that said, no, it's not about a level playing field, it's now about a field that has gotten tilted. And they really stood up for the big financial institutions when the big financial institutions are just hammering middle class American families. You know, I just feel like that's a party that moved way, way away.

Source: ABC This Week 2014 series of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Apr 27, 2014

Favorite Bible verse: Matthew 25:40

[During the 2012 campaign], moments of peace were treasures, offering calm in an otherwise crazy life. Bruce and I went to Easter services and Passover seders. It felt healing to be able, even for a short while, to focus on values and to be in touch with the spirit that moved me into this race.

Reverend Culpepper at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church offered me wise counsel: Be still and listen. Have faith. Let people know your heart. As the campaign progressed, I found myself thinking about Reverend Culpepper's words time and again.

I carried my King James Bible to services, the same one I'd carried since 4th grade. Sometimes the pastor called on me to speak. I'd never spoken to a whole congregation. But I talked about my favorite Bible verse, Matthew 25:40. Its message was very simple: The Lord calls us to action. It's what we DO that matters most.

[Matthew 25:40 "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."]

Source: A Fighting Chance, by Elizabeth Warren, p.243 , Apr 22, 2014

Created intellectual foundation for Occupy Wall Street

I created much of the intellectual foundation for what they [Occupy Wall Street] do. I support what they do.
Source: The Daily Beast, "I created Occupy Wall Street" , Oct 24, 2011


Elizabeth Warren on Ancestry

DNA test shows Native American ancestry generations back

I never thought I'd get involved in politics. It wasn't on my bucket list, shopping list, or any other list. I got the chance to be a public school teacher, a college professor, and a US Senator because America invested in kids like me.

When I decided to run for the Senate in 2012, I never thought that my family's Native American heritage would come under attack and my dead parents would be called liars. I never expected my academic career to become the stuff of right-wing conspiracy theories. And I never expected the President of the United States to use my family's story as a racist political joke against Native American history, culture, and people--over, and over, and over.

I took the extra step and did a DNA test. It contains Native American ancestry. The first Native American in our family that can be proved is generations back, and there could be others. No matter. It's my family, and--like it or not Donald Trump--my family's stories are supported by this test.

Source: AdWatch: 2018 Massachusetts Senate campaign email , Oct 15, 2018

Globe review: no use of Native American heritage in hiring

[Regarding citing Native American heritage in her Harvard job application]: First we pulled together every document we could about how I got hired. We turned over everything to the Boston Globe. They reviewed those documents and interviewed everyone they could find who was involved in my hiring. Their verdict?

"The Globe found clear evidence that her claim to Native American ethnicity was never considered by the Harvard Law faculty, which voted resoundingly to hire her, or by those who hired her to four prior positions at other law schools. At every step of her remarkable rise in the legal profession, the people responsible for hiring her saw her as a white woman."

I'm not afraid of the facts, so today we're launching a new Fact Squad website for anyone who wants see the facts for themselves: http://www.elizabethwarren.com/heritage

This new website has more than you'd ever want to know: It has personnel files. It has interviews with the people who hired me, and my own family members.

Source: AdWatch: 2018 Massachusetts Senate campaign email , Oct 15, 2018

Calling me "Pocahontas" is a racial slur

On President Donald Trump's criticism of Warren's claims of Native American heritage: Warren has called the Republican president's use of the name "Pocahontas" a racial slur. Warren has said she was told of her heritage by her parents and grandparents.

"At the same time she claims she is so outraged, her campaign is sending out fundraising emails using the term 'Pocahontas,'" Republican state Rep. Geoff Diehl said. Trump again used Pocahontas to refer to Warren during a recent White House event honoring Navajo Code Talkers. Later that day, Warren emailed supporters referencing the comment and soliciting campaign donations.

Warren has said she never relied on her Native American heritage to gain any advantage. In a 2012 interview with the AP, Warren said she was told her mother was part Cherokee and part Delaware. "I never used it to get anything. I didn't use it to get a job. I didn't use it to get into school," she said Monday. "The people who have hired me have made that clear."

Source: Boston Globe on 2018 Massachusetts Senatorial race , Dec 5, 2017

Fauxcahontas: Accused of using Indian heritage for gain

My mother and her family and her father's families both had Native American roots. Now, in the middle of a heated Senate campaign, Republicans insisted that all of that was a lie. They claimed I wasn't who I said I was; they said I had cheated to get where I'd gotten.

Republicans also accused me of using my background to get ahead, but that simply wasn't true. It wasn't a question of whether I COULD have sought advantage--I just didn't. I never asked for special treatment when I applied to college, to law school, or for jobs. As the story broke and people dug through my background, every place that hired me backed that up 100%--including the Harvard hiring committee. Harvard told the media they didn't know about my background when they hired me; they offered me a job because they thought I was a good law professor. Period.

But the facts didn't slow the Republicans down, and their attacks continued. Right-wing blogs took to calling me "Fauxcahontas."

Source: A Fighting Chance, by Elizabeth Warren, p.239-41 , Apr 22, 2014

My family is part Cherokee and I can't change who I am

Brown began the debate by saying Warren "checked the box claiming she is Native American, and clearly she is not." Brown called on Warren, a professor at Harvard Law School, to release records related to her hiring at the school to show whether she got an unfair advantage. "I think character is important," he said.

Warren said that her parents told her growing up that her mother was part Cherokee and part Delaware Indian and that as a child she never questioned that story. Warren also said those who hired her during her law school career had said they were either unaware of her background or that it played no role in their decision to hire her. "This is about family. I can't and I won't change who I am," she said.

Source: North Adams Transcript on 2012 Mass. Senate debate , Sep 21, 2012

My Indian heritage played no role in Harvard hiring

Questions about Warren's roots have dogged her campaign since the story broke in April. Warren has acknowledged that she had identified herself as a minority in a legal directory for nearly a decade, and she was listed as a Native American in federal forms filed by Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania where she worked. But she has said her heritage claim played no role in her career advancement.

Some members of Warren's extended family had also heard stories of Native American blood in the family, but others had not.

Brown challenged Warren to release her personnel records to prove that her claim of Native American heritage had played no role in her getting jobs. Warren pointed to the fact that Prof. Charles Fried, a Republican, who sat on the committee that recruited Warren for her Harvard job, said that he was unaware of her ancestry when she was hired. "There's nothing else there. The question has been asked and answered. I think the senator just doesn't like the answer," Warren said

Source: Boston Globe 2012 FactCheck on Mass. Senate Debate , Sep 21, 2012

My father's family rejected my mother's Indian heritage

Q: Is character an issue in this Senate race?

BROWN: I think character is important. Professor Warren claimed she was a Native American, a person of color. And as you can see, she's not.

WARREN: When I was growing up, these were the stories I knew about my heritage. When [my parents] wanted to get married, my father's family said no because my mother was part Delaware and part Cherokee. This is my family, this is who I am, and it's not going to change.

Source: Boston Globe on 2012 Mass. Senate debate , Sep 20, 2012

I know I'm 1/32 Cherokee because my mother told me so

Warren, a Harvard Law School professor, was listed as Native American in 1995. HLS listed her as a minority when the school was under pressure to diversify the faculty. Warren has said that her "family lore" described Indian ancestors, and the New Englan Genealogy Association said it found indications, but not proof, that Warren had a Cherokee great-great-great-grandmother, which would make her 1/32 Indian. "I'm proud of my heritage," Warren said. Asked how she knew it included Native Americans, she replied, "Because my mother told me so."

Her opponents question whether Warren chose this heritage to gain advantages available to Indians and other underrepresented groups in academia. Warren has been adamant that she did not seek any advantage from Native American heritage. Records show that she declined to apply for admission to Rutgers Law School under a minority student program and identified her race as "White" on an employment record at the University of Texas.

Source: Associated Press on 2012 Mass. Senate debates , May 25, 2012

From a long line of hardscrabble Okies

We are women who come from a long line of hardscrabble Okies. Shortly before I (Elizabeth) was born, my father lost the family's life savings to a crooked business partner. During my growing-up years, Daddy sold carpeting at a department store and worked as a maintenance man for an apartment complex. I got my first job at 9, rocking a neighbor's colicky baby in the afternoons so his mama could get a few hours of sleep. By age 11, I was taking in sewing, and at 16 I worked the mail desk at an insurance office. My college financial aid applications classified my family as "poor," although I never thought we were any worse off than our neighbors.
Source: All Your Worth, by Elizabeth Warren, p. 5 , Jan 17, 2006

Religious freedom means no religious registry.

Warren signed opposing a religious registry

Press Release from 9 Senators: [Cory Booker and 13 co-sponsors] introduced legislation that would block a registry of people based on their religion, race, age, gender, ethnicity, national origin, or nationality. "Religious freedom and freedom from discrimination are fundamental rights central to the very idea of being an American," Sen. Booker said. "Forcing people to sign up for a registry based on their religion, race, or national origin does nothing to keep America secure. It does, however, undermine the freedom of religion guaranteed by our Constitution and promote the false notion that people of certain faiths and nationalities are inherently suspect. Our legislation would block Donald Trump and subsequent administrations from infringing on religious liberty by creating an immigration-related religious registry."

National origin-based immigration registry systems have proven ineffective at combatting terrorism and strengthening national security, but effective at instilling fear in certain communities. The George W. Bush-era National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), registered over 83,000 individuals from 24 Muslim-majority countries, but yielded zero terrorism convictions.

Opposing argument: (GovTrack.us's analysis of S.54): President Trump pledged during his campaign to institute a temporary ban on all Muslim immigration and Syrian refugees "until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." He made good on much of that promise with an executive order suspending America's refugee admission program for 120 days and banning all entry from seven majority-Muslim countries for 90 days. Trump has defended a Muslim registry as necessary to national security. "They have to be [registered]. It's all about management. Our country has no management," he said when first proposing the idea in 2015. Trump reiterated his plans as president-elect in December.

Source: S.54 & H.R.5207 17-S0054 on Jan 5, 2017

Question Trump on Emoluments clause.

Warren signed questioning Trump on Emoluments clause

Excerpts from Letter from 17 Senators to Trump Organization: The Trump Organization's continuing financial relationship with President Trump raises concerns about whether it is a pass-through for income that violates the Constitution's two Emoluments Clauses: Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 on foreign Emoluments; and Article II, Clause 7 on domestic Emoluments. Please answer the following questions to help Congress understand:

Legal Analysis: (Cato Institute, "Emoluments Clause vs. Trump Empire," 11/29/16): The wording of the Emoluments clause points one way to resolution: Congress can give consent, as it did in the early years of the Republic to presents received by Ben Franklin. It can decide what it is willing to live with in the way of Trump conflicts. If it misjudges public opinion, it will pay a political price at the next election.

FOIA argument: (ACLU Center for Democracy, "FOIA Request," 1/19/17): We filed our first Freedom of Information Act request of the Trump Era, seeking documents relating President Trump's conflicts of interest relating to his business connections. When Trump took the oath of office, he didn't take the steps necessary to ensure that he and his family's business interests comply with the Constitution. Some have even argued that upon taking the oath of office, the new president is already violating the Emoluments Clause.

Source: Letter from 17 Senators 17LTR-EMOL on May 18, 2017

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Page last updated: Mar 24, 2020