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Elizabeth Warren endorses Joe Biden for president

Former vice president Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren shake hands before the start of a Democratic presidential primary debate Feb. 7 in Manchester, N.H.
Former vice president Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren shake hands before the start of a Democratic presidential primary debate Feb. 7 in Manchester, N.H.Charles Krupa/Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Senator Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday endorsed former vice president Joe Biden for the presidential nomination, becoming the last of the top-tier candidates to coalesce around the presumptive nominee as he seeks to unify the Democratic Party.

“Empathy matters. And, in this moment of crisis, it’s more important than ever that the next president restores Americans’ faith in good, effective government,” Warren said in a video recorded at her home in Cambridge that emphasized Biden’s long experience in public service and sought to quell liberals’ reservations about him.

“We’re all in this together now,” she said.

The endorsement from Warren follows those by former president Barack Obama on Tuesday and Senator Bernie Sanders, Biden’s longest-lasting competitor, on Monday. It comes as the Democratic Party shifts into gear for a general election against President Donald Trump that has been upended by the coronavirus pandemic.

Warren and Biden have spoken several times in recent weeks. Her endorsement is her first major involvement in the presidential race since she ended her own presidential campaign in early March after Biden and Sanders bested her in every single state — including Massachusetts — on Super Tuesday. Since then, Warren has been publicly focused on her calls for a strong response to the coronavirus crisis and on her efforts to build liberal principles into lawmakers’ attempts to stabilize an economy in free-fall.

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“At a moment of crisis for our nation, Senator Warren’s ideas will be more important than ever as we chart a path forward,” Biden said in a statement Wednesday that could stoke speculation that he sees a role for her—possibly as vice president—in his potential administration.

“I am proud to have Senator Warren in my corner for the fight ahead," Biden said, “not just as we work to defeat Donald Trump in November, but in the years to come, as we push through a bold and progressive policy agenda for the American people.”

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Biden prevailed in the primary contests after moderate rivals and voters coalesced around his candidacy, but he has yet to ignite fierce excitement among younger voters and those who are the most liberal. His campaign is looking specifically to Warren and Sanders to give him a boost with those groups.

Biden has committed to choosing a woman as his running mate. A poll from Morning Consult found Warren to be the most popular choice among younger voters.

While Warren expressed deep reservations about Biden during the waning days of her candidacy, his campaign has made concerted attempts to assuage them. He embraced her plan for bankruptcy reform — which would undo many of the provisions in a bankruptcy law he fought for himself, over her objections, in 2005 — and he called recently for the cancellation of some student loan debt. That’s an issue she worried would fall by the wayside in a Biden candidacy, she told The Globe before her last campaign rally.

In her endorsement, Warren acknowledged her differences with Biden but sought to portray him as someone willing to come around on liberal ideas, suggesting that she sees herself as a bridge between him and the party’s left.

“Among all the other candidates I competed with in the Democratic primary, there’s no one who I’ve agreed with 100 percent of the time over the years. But one thing I appreciate about Joe Biden is that he will always tell you where he stands,” Warren said.

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She added: “He has shown throughout this campaign that when you come up with new facts or a good argument, he’s not too afraid or too proud to be persuaded.”

Both Warren and Sanders also were vastly more successful with small-dollar donors than Biden was over the course of the primary. Sanders already has told the Wall Street Journal he doesn’t plan to raise money for Biden, but Warren showed more willingness to help with his fund-raising, urging people to “chip in your 5 bucks” at the close of her endorsement video.

When Warren dropped out of the presidential race in early March, she told the Globe she would “wholeheartedly” support the eventual Democratic nominee, but she decided to remain neutral as Biden and Sanders — the two major candidates still left in the race at the time — battled it out. She had suggested in a campaign speech that neither met the moment of the then-burgeoning coronavirus crisis.

Warren and Biden had other tense moments during the primary. When Biden spoke dismissively of her plan to pay for Medicare for All, Warren told reporters she thought he was running in the wrong primary; he soon published a scathing Medium post accusing her of “elitism” and bringing a “my way or the highway” approach to politics. Later, he seemed to try to take credit for her creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on the debate stage, leaving her momentarily speechless before she credited Obama for its passage.

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In her endorsement, however, Warren highlighted Biden’s work during the 2009 economic recovery.

“During the recovery, and later when I worked in the White House setting up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, I saw him up close, doing the work, getting in the weeds — never forgetting who we were all there to serve,” Warren said.

She also evoked his trip to Boston a year after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, emphasizing Biden’s role as a consoler-in-chief during unsteady times.

“People who’d been hurt, people who were afraid — he gave them peace, and he gave them grace. I watched it up close,” Warren said.







Jess Bidgood can be reached at Jess.Bidgood@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @jessbidgood.