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No Endorsement Yet, But Plenty of Clues from Sen. Elizabeth Warren

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In speech lambasting big money in politics, "Warren came as close as she has -- or perhaps will -- come to officially endorsing Sanders."

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer
Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren back similar agendas that include breaking up big banks, reducing the role of money in politics, and a $15 minimum wage.
Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren back similar agendas that include breaking up big banks, reducing the role of money in politics, and a $15 minimum wage.
(Image by (Photo: AFGE/flickr/cc))
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With days to go before the critical Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary, pundits are abuzz about one potential endorsement in particular -- one they say could actually sway voters: that of progressive luminary Elizabeth Warren.

Many are pointing to an impassioned speech the senator from Massachusetts gave on the U.S. Senate floor last week, in which she offered what Salon described on Tuesday as a "not-so-subtle endorsement of Bernie Sanders."

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The speech, which marked the sixth anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, lambasted the "flood of hidden money that is about to drown our democracy." It called for citizen-funded elections, stronger financial disclosure laws, and a "full-blown" Constitutional amendment to restore authority to Congress, individual states, and the American people to regulate campaign finance.

But "[t]he most revealing part of the speech was the end," wrote Salon staff writer Sean Illing, when "Warren came as close as she has -- or perhaps will -- come to officially endorsing Sanders."

"A new presidential election is upon us," Warren said. "The first votes will be cast in Iowa in just eleven days. Anyone who shrugs and claims that change is just too hard has crawled into bed with the billionaires who want to run the country like some private club."

As Illing argued: "The subtext here is clear: do not listen to those who say we have to be prudent and accept that fundamental problems like financial corruption or campaign finance can't be solved in the short or medium term. The knock on Sanders, fair or not, is that he's too idealistic, too detached from the realities of Washington. Part of Clinton's appeal to voters is that she's pragmatic and experienced. She may not be as progressive as Sanders, but she can get more done in Washington."

Warren appeared to be rejecting that line of thinking -- to Clinton's detriment -- according to Liam Miller writing at the Huffington Post this week:

"Although the occasion for her speech was the anniversary of Citizens United, in mentioning the election and the imminent voting in Iowa Warren leaves no doubt that her closing words are meant for that greater context, even as she identifies Clinton's appeals to pragmatism as a complete betrayal of the Progressivism she had once courted. That may well be the ball game for Clinton; having failed to win over Progressives, Warren's endorsement could have shored up Clinton's eroding support long enough to survive the Iowa Caucuses. Instead, Warren has delivered a scathing rebuke."

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Reporting on the speech, United Press International noted that Warren "has promised to endorse someone" and "is the only Democratic woman in the Senate who hasn't backed the former New York senator." Her recent remarks suggest she's not going to do so, UPI continued, given that Clinton "has received substantial financial backing for her present bid as well as her 2008 run."

What's more, Greg Sargent wrote for the Washington Post earlier this month, "Warren is also surely mindful that a Clinton endorsement would disappoint a lot of Sanders supporters -- who make up her own national base, too -- as well as progressive groups that have backed the Vermont Senator."

Watch Warren's full speech below:


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