Warren Ties Toomey to Trump at Pa. Senate Rally

Warren Ties Toomey to Trump at Pa. Senate Rally
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PHILADELPHIA – Elizabeth Warren has a reputation as one of the fiercest campaigners this election cycle, baiting Republican nominee Donald Trump on Twitter and knocking him when she’s stumping for Hillary Clinton. Now, the Massachusetts senator is turning her attention and attacks toward helping Democrats try to win back the Senate majority.

Warren made her first appearance for a Senate race at a rally at the University of Pennsylvania here Friday afternoon, joining Democratic Senate candidate Katie McGinty in attacking Republican Sen. Pat Toomey. Warren’s strategy was simple: tie both Senate candidates directly to the top of their tickets.

“I’m here today for two tough, smart women with Pennsylvania roots and Pennsylvania values -- Hillary and Katie,” Warren said as she opened her remarks. “Two smart, tough women who fight for women, who fight for kids, who fight for a healthy planet, who fight for a future for all of us. That’s who these women are.”

On the other side of the aisle, she continually tried to tie Toomey to Trump, pointedly arguing they are in lockstep on a number of issues, from opposing minimum wage increases and gender pay equity to backing the Citizens United Supreme Court decision.

Toomey has not endorsed Trump, saying last month that he’s still “watching and listening” to learn more about the Republican nominee. Warren used that stance against him, asking, “How much more does Pat Toomey have to hear from Donald Trump to finally stand up and say, ‘No, that is wrong, and I will not support Donald Trump’? What’s it going to take?"

She even brought up Trump’s quote from earlier this election cycle when he suggested he could shoot someone in the middle of 5th Avenue in Manhattan and not lose any supporters, saying, “I think he was talking about Pat Toomey."

Warren, one of the most popular figures within the Democratic Party, is viewed as potentially one of the most helpful surrogates for Senate candidates this year, and her appearance with McGinty underscores how vital Pennsylvania will be in the race for the majority. Republicans currently have a four-seat majority, but nearly a dozen seats could be competitive in November, giving Democrats a legitimate chance to flip control of the Senate.

McGinty currently leads Toomey by just half a percentage point in the RealClearPolitics average, making it one of the closest races in the country. To underscore the importance of Pennsylvania, Bernie Sanders, the runner-up for the Democratic presidential nomination earlier this year, will appear with McGinty in Pittsburgh next week, his first campaign event for Senate candidates.

Warren’s strategy of tying Toomey to Trump is one McGinty -- and other Democratic Senate candidates -- have used repeatedly in trying to link GOP incumbents with their nominee. McGinty commonly refers to the “Trump-Toomey ticket,” something she did again during the Friday rally.

McGinty also made a more policy-focused pitch, using a pet issue for Warren by attacking Toomey on his previous criticisms of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which Warren worked hard to help establish. McGinty brought up this week’s news that Wells Fargo Bank fired more than 5,000 employees and was fined $185 million by the bureau for pushing customers into fee-generating accounts and said that Toomey has been “working overtime to bust not the banks, but the protection bureau,” and called his priorities “upside down.”

Toomey, for his part, has been critical of the bureau because it’s not subject to congressional oversight, which he said makes it “unaccountable.” His proposed reforms include subjecting the bureau to congressional oversight through the appropriations process, replacing its director with a bipartisan board and chairman, and increasing the financial threshold for the bureau to directly examine financial institutions to $50 billion.

"Pat Toomey took on his own party and led the charge against the Wall Street bailouts, and was just praised effusively yesterday by the Senate's leading Democratic gun-safety advocate,” Toomey spokesman Ted Kwong said in a statement. “Katie McGinty couldn't even name one policy she disagreed with Hillary Clinton on when asked in a softball interview. That's the difference between the two candidates in this race."

Warren also criticized Toomey, who worked on derivatives at a Wall Street bank in the 1990s, for his ties to the banking industry -- and again linked him directly to Trump.

“Donald Trump and Mr. Wall Street Pat Toomey want to repeal Wall Street reform and want to let the big banks gamble with our economy,” Warren said. “We believe that Wall Street needs real accountability, tougher rules, stronger enforcement, and Katie and Hillary and I will be fighting for it.”

James Arkin is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at jarkin@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @JamesArkin.

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