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At Dem Confab, Clinton Touted as Warren Revs Up Crowd

At Dem Confab, Clinton Touted as Warren Revs Up Crowd

By Scott Conroy - September 22, 2014

NEW YORK -- Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren was clearly the star of the show at the Mandarin Hotel in midtown Manhattan on Monday as she addressed a packed house that came out for an EMILY’s List fundraiser.  

But even as Warren fired up the left-leaning crowd with her populist oratory, it was former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- who was speaking simultaneously at a different event just a few blocks away -- whose political future was a primary topic of conversation.   

In remarks that preceded Warren’s keynote speech, EMILY’s List president Stephanie Schriock made clear that the pro-abortion-rights group -- which works to elect female Democrats -- is focused mostly on the 2014 midterm races. But Schriock also looked ahead to the presidential campaign that will begin in earnest early next year. 

“We at EMILY’s List really know and believe that we will have a woman running for president in 2016,” Schriock said to big cheers from the audience. “We sure hope that Secretary Clinton takes the time she needs, but we also sure hope that she takes this on, because we are ready.” 

Lending further credence to the belief that she will make another White House run, Clinton earlier this month returned to Iowa for the first time since her third-place finish in the Democratic caucuses there delivered a blow from which her campaign never fully recovered.  

Clinton has indicated she will likely announce her 2016 plans early next year.  

Warren, on the other hand, has said repeatedly that she is not running for president -- a present-tense construction that many observers say would allow her the wiggle room to enter the presidential race at some future point. 

But Clinton’s status as the frontrunner-in-waiting for the Democratic nomination was evident at the EMILY’s List event headlined by Warren. 

In addition to Schriock’s comments, Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow expressed her excitement at the prospect of another Clinton presidential run as Warren watched from a front-row table.   

“I really hope I get to call her something else,” Stabenow said of the woman who has also held the titles of first lady and U.S. senator from New York. “I think ‘Madam President’ sounds awfully, awfully good.” 

With the former secretary of state speaking at around the same time at a cross-town event hosted by the Clinton Global Initiative, Warren walked from table to table at the EMILY’s List gathering, greeting the assembled donors and activists warmly and posing for several photos.  

When it was time for the Massachusetts lawmaker to take the stage, she was greeted with a standing ovation.  

“Being here is like being with family -- if you come from a family full of very smart women,” Warren said.  

The first-term senator spent the next few minutes treating the crowd to the kind of energetic, populist speech that she has been delivering on behalf of Democratic candidates around the country this year.   

“Washington works for those who have power, and no one gives up power easily,” she said. “So the way I see this is that women have an opportunity to change -- to change government and the direction this country goes.” 

Warren hit on several issues that have been key components of her platform in the Senate, including alleviating poverty and student loan debt and calling for more Wall Street accountability.  

She also encouraged more women to run for political office, noting that while there were some “terrible parts” to doing so when she won her Senate seat in 2012, Warren also found the experience to be “a lot of fun.”  

“Every time I met a little girl, I would always drop down to my knees, down to their level, and I would always say, ‘My name is Elizabeth and I’m running for United States Senate because that’s what girls do,’” she said.

Scott Conroy is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at sconroy@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearScott.

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