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Elizabeth Warren won’t give keynote at DNC

Elizabeth Warren spoke at the 2012 Massachusetts Democratic Convention in Springfield in June.Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe/Globe Freelance

Elizabeth Warren will not deliver the keynote speech at this year’s Democratic National Convention, but instead will speak immediately before Bill Clinton speaks on what party officials hope will be an energetic penultimate night.

Warren and Clinton will speak in prime time on Wednesday, Sept. 5, and form a one-two punch aimed at crystallizing the choice between President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney in the general election, the Obama campaign said.

The Senate candidate will contrast the president’s economic plan with Romney’s and outline the impact it will have on middle-class families across the country.

“At the president’s side, ­Elizabeth Warren helped level the playing field for all Americans and put in place safeguards to ensure that everyone, from Wall Street to Main Street, play by the same set of rules,” said Stephanie Cutter, a deputy Obama campaign manager.


The convention chairman — Antonio Villaraigosa, mayor of Los Angeles — added in a statement that Warren “is a leader committed to rebuilding the economy from the middle class out, instead of focusing on the top-down economics of the past.”

Warren said in a statement that “it will be an honor” to share the stage with the former president.

“I grew up in a hard-
working family, in an America that was investing in kids like me,’’ she said. “President Obama is committed to making sure that America has a level playing field for all our families and to ensuring that every kid has the opportunity to make it. Mitt Romney and the Republicans want to go back to the same policies that broke this economy. It is time to move forward.”

The Globe reported this month that Warren was under consideration for the high-
profile keynote speech, traditionally delivered on Tuesday night.

She is in one of the most hotly contested US Senate races in the country, challenging ­Republican incumbent Scott Brown in Massachusetts. ­Warren has outraised all other congressional candidates in the country.


Obama used the keynote speech he delivered at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston to vault into the national political consciousness.

The president has taken in recent months to emulating Warren’s pro-middle-class rhetoric, including adopting her theme that government has been a partner with entrepreneurs in building small businesses.

Republicans have attacked the president’s recent “you didn’t build that” comment, prompting speculation that Warren might be bypassed for the keynote speech to avoid a rejuvenation of the issue in the Romney-Obama race. The Obama campaign insisted that Warren’s role was not a penalty for the president’s problems, noting that Obama continues to make the same argument and is running a television ad rebutting Republican criticism.

The Brown campaign saw it differently. Brown spokesman Colin Reed said in a statement that Warren was not given the keynote role because her “radical, anti-free-enterprise rhetoric is so far out of the mainstream.”

Warren used convention-style language last month, when she introduced the president at a fund-raiser in Boston.

“Mitt Romney tells us, in his own words, he believes corporations are people,’’ she said. “No, Mitt, corporations are not people. People have hearts. They have kids. They get jobs. They get sick. They love and they cry and they dance. They live and they die. Learn the difference.’’

After Warren finishes her convention remarks at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C., Clinton is slated to deliver a speech that culminates with the former president formally nominating Obama for a second term.


Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will speak back-to-back Sept. 6 at Bank of America Stadium, an open-air football stadium.

The campaign would not immediately reveal the identity of the keynote speaker, who, like Warren, will speak in an arena being used for two nights before the convention is moved to the football stadium. The convention will last three nights instead of the usual four, amid Democratic fund-raising problems. The party notes that the traditional first night will fall on Labor Day this year.

Glen Johnson can be reached at johnson@globe.com.