Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren delivered a New Year’s Eve speech in Boston, Tuesday, marking a year since she launched an exploratory committee for her White House run.
In front of a raucous hometown crowd at the Old South Meeting House, Warren asked voters to look to the future and tackle what she perceives as corruption in Washington, slamming billionaires from both parties who she says put corporate interests above the needs of the rest of the country.
Warren said the coming of a new year is "normally a moment for optimism. But let’s face it: This year in America has been anything but normal.”
In a nod to the president's impending impeachment trial, Warren said congressional Republicans “have turned into fawning, spineless defenders of his crimes.” She spoke to hundreds who filled the historic wooden pews painted in a deep, creamy white on the church's polished wooden ground floor and stately balcony.
The senator also decried the “chaos and ugliness of the past three years" under Trump but didn't miss a chance to swipe at other Democratic presidential hopefuls who argue that her support for a “wealth tax,” universal health care and proposals to overhaul the political and economic system are too radical for moderate and swing voters in a general election battle against Trump.
“One year into this campaign, you’ve never found me behind closed doors with corporate executives or spending hours on the phone sucking up to rich donors to fund my campaign,” said Warren, who first announced forming a presidential exploratory committee on Dec. 31, 2018.
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The presidential hopeful asked an enthusiastic crowd of voters to imagine changes ranging from Medicare for All, free college and the Green New Deal.
“We are a nation that fights back,” Warren said. “Fighting back is an act of patriotism.”
The senator harkened back to the early history of the Old South Meeting House, a historic church where the Boston Tea Party was planned, and where “the spirit of the American imagination was formed.”
She told the story of Phillis Wheatley, a young, enslaved girl who mastered multiple languages. Eventually, Wheatley became the first black woman to publish a book of poetry in America.
“In the spirit of one young woman who raised her voice from these pews more than two centuries ago, let us begin tomorrow committed to dream big, fight hard and win,” Warren said, reading one of Wheatley’s poems to close out her remarks.
Warren argued for a Medicare for All plan as a basic human right, continuing to separate herself from more moderate candidates. She specifically referenced black maternal health as a priority of her policy proposals.
The most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll from Dec. 19 showed the senator from Massachusetts ranked third behind former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders in the 2020 presidential primary race.
The next Democratic debate is scheduled for Jan. 14. Five candidates, including Warren, have already qualified to take the stage.