Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) reportedly plans to use her influence in the Senate to make Hillary Clinton become her type of presidential candidate.
Indeed, in a New Yorker profile published Monday, an unnamed Warren adviser told Ryan Lizza that the senator “can get Hillary to do whatever the hell she wants.” Accordingly, the source said, there’s no reason for Warren to challenge Clinton’s bid for the White House.
“I think she’s in a beautiful position right now because she can get Hillary to do whatever the hell she wants,” the adviser said. “Now the question is, will Hillary stick to it if she gets in? But at the moment Elizabeth can get her on record and hold her feet to the fire.”
Former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) echoed this point by saying Democrats are afraid of being criticised by Warren.
“Right now, she’s as powerful a spokesperson on public policy as you could be in the minority. Democrats are afraid of Elizabeth Warren. No Democrat wants Elizabeth Warren being critical of him,” he told The New Yorker.
Warren team is reportedly joking that Clinton has become the best surrogate for Warren’s agenda. An insider in her office told Lizza that Warren advisers once circulated “a picture showing the two women sitting beside each other, a quote bubble emanating from Clinton: ‘What she said.'”
Warren, elected in 2012, has become one of the most high-profile voices in Congress criticising abuses on Wall Street and supporting a populist economic agenda. Many of her supporters have tirelessly urged her to challenge Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primary, but Warren has rebuffed them.
Despite the critics accusing her for being too cosy with Wall Street, Clinton has struck a decidedly populist note in her presidential campaign so far. In her April 12 announcement video, Clinton declared, “The deck is still stacked in favour of those at the top.” Instead of a flashy campaign launch, Clinton staged a road trip to Iowa to discuss income inequality and decry a tax system that allows financiers to pay a lower tax rate than blue collar workers.
Earlier this month, Clinton even penned a gushing tribute to Warren as part of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People,” praising Warren as someone who “never lets us forget” the importance of holding “powerful people’s feet to the fire.”
However, Clinton’s advisers have reportedly insisted that Clinton was championing these types of causes long before Warren became a national figure. The New York Times reported last week that a Clinton adviser created a “16-page dossier titled ‘Hillary Clinton: A Lifetime Champion of Income Opportunity” that calls Warren a “footnote.” It also “presents 40 instances in which Mrs. Clinton took the same stance” as Warren on specific economic issues.
“Nothing stings her inner circle more than the suggestion that their candidate is late to these issues,” The Times’ Amy Chozick wrote. “Clinton was the original Elizabeth Warren, her advisers say, a populist fighter who for decades has been an advocate for families and children; only now have the party and primary voters caught up.”
For her part, Warren has been more muted in her praise of Clinton. Before Clinton’s presidential announcement, Warren said during a “Morning Joe” interview that “we need to see” what Clinton plans to include in her campaign before judging it.
“She hasn’t laid out what she’s going to run on,” Warren said then, “and I think that’s what we need to see.”
Additional reporting by Colin Campbell.
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