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Elizabeth Warren makes presidential bid official with call for change

Published: Updated:

Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren made her bid for the presidency official on Saturday in the working-class city of Lawrence, Massachusetts, grounding her 2020 campaign in a populist call to fight economic inequality and build “an America that works for everyone.”

Warren delivered a sharp call for change at her presidential kickoff, decrying a “middle-class squeeze” that has left Americans crunched with “too little accountability for the rich, too little opportunity for everyone else.” She and her backers hope that message can distinguish her in a crowded Democratic field and help her move past the controversy surrounding her past claims to Native American heritage.

Weaving specific policy prescriptions into her remarks, from Medicare for All to the elimination of Washington “lobbying as we know it,” Warren avoided taking direct jabs at President Donald Trump. She aimed for a broader institutional shift instead, urging supporters to choose “a government that makes different choices, choices that reflect our values.”

Warren announced her campaign in her home state of Massachusetts at a mill site where largely immigrant factory workers went on strike about 100 years ago, a fitting forum for the longtime consumer advocate to advance her platform.

US Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) takes the stage at a rally to launch her campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination in Lawrence, Massachusetts, US. (Reuters)
US Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) takes the stage at a rally to launch her campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination in Lawrence, Massachusetts, US. (Reuters)

She was traveling later in the day to New Hampshire, home to the nation’s first primary, where Warren could have an advantage as a neighboring-state resident with high name recognition. She intended to spend Sunday in Iowa, where the leadoff caucuses will be the first test of candidates’ viability.

Warren was the first high-profile Democrat to signal interest in running for the White House, forming an exploratory committee on New Year’s Eve.

She was introduced Saturday by Rep. Joe Kennedy III, D-Mass., who has endorsed her in the primary. The backing could prove valuable for Warren, given his status as a rising young Democratic star and his friendship with one of her potential 2020 rivals, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas.

Warren enters the race as one of the party’s most recognizable figures. She has spent the past decade in the national spotlight, first emerging as a consumer activist during the financial crisis. She later led the congressional panel that oversaw the 2008 financial industry bailout. After Republicans blocked her from running the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency she helped create, she ran for the Senate in 2012 and unseated a GOP incumbent.