SEATTLE – Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, seemingly unfazed by a fourth-place finish in the Nevada caucuses earlier in the day, electrified a crowd packed into two buildings at Seattle Center, promising to fight hard for them if they will back her in the upcoming Washington primary.
In a combination rally and mini town hall Saturday night, Warren called for a wealth tax and promised to fight Washington, D.C., corruption, climate change and gun violence, declaring on each point, “I’ve got a plan for that.”
“I’m not in this fight to talk about change. I’m in this fight to make change,” she told an estimated crowd of 7,000 that jammed the Seattle Center Armory and the nearby Pavilion.
She drew some of the loudest reactions of the night when she excoriated former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is spending hundreds of millions of his own money on the campaign.
Bloomberg who skipped the first four states, won’t let people see his tax returns, defended racist policies like redlining and stop and frisk, she said, as the crowd booed.
“We’re not substituting one arrogant billionaire for another,” she said as the crowd roared.
She’s not the safest candidate, Warren admitted, but the election should be about dreams, not safety. She recited familiar bits of her biography, growing up in Oklahoma with a family struggling to make ends meet; about her mother getting her first job, for minimum wage, at age 50; becoming a special education teacher out of college; and later becoming a lawyer and fighting to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which she was later chosen to lead by President Barack Obama.
She briefly acknowledged rival Sen. Bernie Sanders victory in Nevada, opening her speech with “Bernie has won. Congratulations, Bernie.”
Warren quickly followed that nod by mentioning her strong showing in the televised debate on Wednesday night, after which she has been gaining support and collected $9 million in contributions.
One of the main differences between her and Sanders, Warren said, was that he supports keeping the filibuster in Senate rules, and she wants to end it. With a filibuster, Senate Republicans can block progressive changes even if they are in the minority, she said.
“Get rid of the filibuster and let’s go,” she said.
In a question-and-answer session, she urged a woman who asked how to fight sexism to persist. She skirted the question of whom she would pick for a running mate if nominated, saying naming someone would be “presumptive” at this point. Instead she talked about what she’d look for: a partner in the fight.
“I’m not looking for political balance or geographic balance,” she said. Warren then took shots at President Donald Trump’s cabinet, adding she’d pick a Secretary of Education who believes in public schools, a head of the Environmental Protection Agency who believes in science, and an attorney general “who believes in the rule of law.”
“Our democracy hangs in the balance and you have a decision to make,” she said, her voice occasionally going hoarse. “This is the moment to choose courage over fear.”
That decision in Washington will be made in the first-ever state presidential primary that will determine delegates for the Democratic nominee. Ballots that are due by March 10 began arriving in the mail in the last few days. . They have the names of 13 Democratic candidates, but some, like Sens. Cory Booker and Michael Bennet, already have dropped out of the race and more could leave after the March 3 Super Tuesday primaries.
When Warren arrived at Seattle Center shortly after 6 p.m. from Nevada, she showed no signs of feeling down from her finish there, making a quick visit to an overflow room with thousands of people who couldn’t fit into the Armory.
She led the crowd in a chant of her campaign slogan, “Dream Big/Fight Hard!” and promised she’d see them again after her speech across the way.
“I”ll be back for selfies,” she said.
At this newspaper’s deadline, Warren was still posing for photos in front of the stage, with a long line of supporters waiting for their chance.
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