Sen. Elizabeth Warren Talks With Democratic Voters About Their Concerns

Oct 30, 2019
Originally published on October 30, 2019 7:31 pm
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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

How can Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren win a general election? That is the question more and more Democrats are asking as she rises in the polls. Plenty of voters are skeptical, as NPR's Scott Detrow reports from New Hampshire.

SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: Elizabeth Warren works a room like she performs at a big rally - with a lot of energy. At a Concord, N.H., Mexican restaurant this week, she was doling out birthday greetings...

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UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Today's my birthday.

ELIZABETH WARREN: No.

DETROW: ...Pitching people on single-payer health care and her student debt plan...

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UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Yeah, I really depend on...

WARREN: One more reason to...

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Yeah.

WARREN: You bet. And besides that, how about we do things like universal child care and tuition-free college?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: That would be unreal.

DETROW: ...And just spouting out her campaign slogan as she strode past people who were mid-burrito-bite.

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WARREN: Hi.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: How you doing?

WARREN: It's nice to see you.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Nice to meet you.

WARREN: Very nice to meet you, too. We have got to stay in this fight.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: I agree.

DETROW: This is Warren's campaign - unapologetically aggressive in tone and in policy.

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WARREN: We need a president with the courage to enforce the anti-trust laws, break up big tech, big ag, big pharma. It's time.

DETROW: At a town hall in Laconia, her 150th of the campaign, Warren ticked through all of her campaign goals - all that regulation, plus a wealth tax that would fund education spending, student debt relief, single-payer health care and more.

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WARREN: OK, so I could, like, do these all day long.

DETROW: But the more Warren rises in the polls in key early states like New Hampshire, the more supporters are envisioning what she would be like as the party's nominee. And that's leading to nervous questions, like this from Hugh Thompson (ph).

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HUGH THOMPSON: I like everything you say.

WARREN: Oh, good. Let's stop there.

THOMPSON: OK.

WARREN: (Laughter).

THOMPSON: But...

WARREN: Uh-huh.

THOMPSON: ...We also need to get you elected.

DETROW: Thompson's worry - a lot of Democrats may love Warren's progressive agenda, but how will independents and Republicans react? Warren's response is twofold. First, she argues a Democratic candidate needs to get Democrats excited.

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WARREN: I think you have to give people a reason to show up. I think you have to give people some hope and a reason to get in the fight.

DETROW: And she says her populism is something that could break through party lines.

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WARREN: The day as president - oh, I like saying that - as president that I get to sign into law the cancellation of student debt for 43 million Americans, that's a day where Democrats do well, Republicans do well, independents do well.

DETROW: In Laconia, Warren got another question about a whole different type of Democratic angst - confronting President Trump.

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MARY: When he calls you Pocahontas, I'm sure you have an answer for him. I would like to know how you're going to come at him. Are you going to go after him? What are you going to do?

DETROW: Warren says she'll stand up for herself but will try to avoid getting into an insult cycle.

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WARREN: My goal is to tap into all of the Americans who are just getting tired of the Donald Trump show. It's just getting old, and it's getting boring. And that's what's starting to happen.

DETROW: Questioner's name is Mary, but she didn't want to give her last name.

MARY: I didn't like her answer because Hillary took the high road, and it got her nowhere. And...

DETROW: Mary says she's planning on voting for Tom Steyer, but Warren wasn't ready to give up on her vote. Just as Mary finished talking to NPR, Warren popped in hoping to make a connection with a selfie.

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WARREN: Want a picture?

MARY: Oh, sure. I don't have a camera, so don't worry about it.

WARREN: Oh, OK.

MARY: No, I don't need a picture.

WARREN: Thank you, Mary.

MARY: Thank you. Good luck to you.

DETROW: Scott Detrow, NPR News, Laconia, N.H.

(SOUNDBITE OF MASHROU' LEILA'S "3 MINUTES") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.