Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren drew about 1,000 supporters who pledged to work for her campaign during a volunteer event in Roxbury yesterday.
The rally, at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center, demonstrated some of the grass-roots enthusiasm around Warren’s campaign that many Democrats have been touting.
Governor Deval Patrick, who was seen as a popular grass-roots candidate in his 2006 and 2010 elections, did not draw such large crowds at this stage of a campaign, nearly a year before the election.
Warren, who is competing in a Democratic primary to decide who will face Republican incumbent Scott Brown, had been drawing 200 to 500 supporters at seven previous events across the state, her campaign said. This was her first such meeting in Boston.
After she spoke, Warren responded to questions from reporters about comments she made in an interview televised yesterday related to Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Republicans had criticized her for defending what she called a “nuanced response’’ to the escalating situation from President Obama.
The State Republican party, echoing language used by several Republican presidential candidates, called for a more muscular approach.
“What is needed right now is not nuance, but a clear, consistent and unmistakable message from the United States that a nuclear-armed Iran is unacceptable and won’t be tolerated,’’ said Nate Little, the executive director of the state party, in a statement.
Warren would not say directly how far she would go to stop Iran from building a nuclear bomb. “What you do is you try to build the right coalition in the region and I think that’s what the president is trying to do,’’ she said.
“All Americans recognize the seriousness of the situation and how it is that a nuclear Iran could destabilize the region,’’ she added. “The president has been working on foreign policy issues using all of the tools available to him.’’
Before speaking with reporters, Warren shook hands and then addressed the crowd for about a half hour, telling the story of her upbringing in Oklahoma and stressing her campaign themes, including her assertion that the American middle class has been left behind.
“About a generation ago, we lost our way,’’ she said, adding that America turned into a nation that says “I got mine. The rest of you are on your own.’’
Several times, she employed President Bill Clinton’s words, saying that people who “work hard and play by the rules’’ deserve an opportunity to succeed.
Brown has not yet shifted officially into campaign mode. He attended two public events yesterday, including one on Castle Island, where he greeted participants in a walk to fight the disease ALS and gave opening remarks. Brown said he would shift into official campaign mode in February or March.
Noah Bierman can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @noahbierman.