Warren Aims to Mix Crusader's Zeal, Working-Class Roots

By Caitlin Huey-Burns - April 24, 2012

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She then works her way down the street to find dozens of patrons waiting in line outside of a popular café. She introduces herself to each one; some seem more hungry than interested while others appear excited to meet her. One young man asks if he can take a picture of himself with Warren. A woman says she recognizes the candidate from television ads. Another young man tells her she has his vote.

As she makes her way down the line, Mann (himself a law professor) looks adoringly at his wife from a distance. “She’s not your average academic,” he tells RCP. The couple met over 30 years ago during a teacher conference in Florida. (“Isn’t he a cutie? Warren says after the interview. “He’s my sweetheart.”)

Wearing glasses, no makeup, a cotton turtleneck under a turquoise fleece, with black pants and sneakers, Warren hardly looks the part of Hollywood’s “It” Girl, as detractors have labeled her for taking campaign contributions from the likes of Cher and Barbara Streisand. But holding a baby on a voter’s front porch, she also doesn’t look like someone who, as she once said, has “thrown rocks at people who I think are in the wrong.”

Warren released her second television ad this week in an attempt to encompass both of these orientations. “I grew up in a family hanging on by our fingertips to a place in the middle class,” she says in the ad, as black-and-white photos of the candidate in her youth are shown. “But back then, America invested in kids like me. We had lots of opportunities. Today, Washington lets big corporations like GE pay nothing -- zero -- in taxes, while kids are left drowning in debt to get an education. This isn’t about economics. It’s about our values.”

But Warren also makes plain she won’t go to Capitol Hill to cede her positions. In an interview with RCP outside of the Sound Bites Café here, she says, “The idea of serving with 20 women in the U.S. Senate, an historic number, is very exciting.” But asked if there are any Republicans in the upper chamber she admires, Warren chuckles slightly. “I’m very sorry we’re losing Olympia Snowe. I worked with her on small business issues for several years, and I have great respect for her.”

Snowe has endorsed Warren’s opponent, calling him a breath of fresh air in a partisan Senate. But Warren says that Brown’s votes -- including one recently cast against the millionaire’s tax known as the Buffett Rule -- indicate otherwise.

When asked what a Brown re-election would mean for the Democratic Party in Massachusetts, Warren answers, “I think President Obama has a vision to try to lead America forward, and my Republican opponent does not share that vision. He pulls in a different direction.” 

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Caitlin Huey-Burns is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @CHueyBurnsRCP.

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