Senator Elizabeth Warren says she isn’t fazed by pundits who predict voters outside of the bright blue confines of the Commonwealth won’t back her as a presidential contender.
“I’m going to keep talking about the same kinds of issues that pulled me into politics to begin with,” said the Cambridge Democrat, who announced Monday she was forming a committee to explore the possibility of running for president in 2020, to reporters in the Massachusetts State House on Wednesday.
“I originally ran for the Senate in Massachusetts so that I would be in a place to try to help strengthen America’s hard-working families and to try to make this government work better for them, and that’s what this national campaign is all about as well,” Warren said in response to a question about pundits who say that she suffers from an electability problem in much of the country.
Even prior to her announcement, Warren had weathered criticism about her White House aspirations — in no small part, Democrats say, because she’s the first major candidate to show her real interest in the race. And although much of the talk is inside-the-beltway chatter, some of the criticisms — such as Warren’s now-infamous decision to release her DNA test results — could have ripple effects throughout her campaign.
“I’ll just keep talking about the issues that I think matter to families all across this country,” she repeated to reporters when pressed further.
Warren, who was on Beacon Hill to witness the swearing-in of new members of the state House and Senate, announced a day earlier that she plans to campaign this weekend in Iowa, which holds the crucial first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses in 13 months. She announced Wednesday four hires in the Midwest state, which will be a critical test of her ability to draw support outside of her geographical base, ahead of her four-city swing on Friday and Saturday.
But Warren’s presence at the Massachusetts ceremonies suggested she will try to be attentive to the optics of running for president while holding a job representing the voters of Massachusetts.
During the House session, Warren —
seated between Senator Edward J. Markey and Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh — hugged several newly elected representatives, took photos and selfies with officials, and said hello to a baby held by Representative Daniel Cullinane.
During her brief exchange with reporters, Warren did not stray from the talking points she laid out in the video she released announcing her exploratory committee. She called her Instagram video, broadcast live from her kitchen Monday night, a way to invite a whole bunch of people into her home to talk. She said the beer she popped open during the appearance was a Michelob Ultra — “the club soda of beers,” she joked.
She told reporters her goal for the upcoming Iowa trip is to talk to people and said she hoped to have a “conversation” with them.
“I think that this is a moment in America where people really want to get the focus back on the things that touch their lives, about things like student loans and what it costs to get a prescription filled, how Social Security needs to be strengthened, things that touch real people every day.”
As for this exploratory phase of her seemingly inevitable run for the White House, Warren said it will be spent listening to people around this country.
“I’m in this fight because I believe that government is working for the rich and the powerful,” she said. “I believe that Washington is corrupt. I see it firsthand. That’s what pulls me in, that’s why I’m in this fight.”