Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Warren addressed the nation in a prime-time speech from the Democratic National Convention Wednesday night, rallying her party behind President Barack Obama and reintroducing herself to a nation as the unlikely U.S. Senate hopeful who rose from the lower crust of the middle class to the protect American consumers in Washington.
Warren addressed the national political arena in the prominent slot introducing former President Bill Clinton. Her selection for the sought-after spot points to her intellectual prominence within the Democratic platform, much of which draws from work she has done on financial reform.
With a direct message, Warren strove to distance herself from the "beltway insiders" and career politicians who she said profited from an economic system that favors the wealthiest Americans.
"I am Elizabeth Warren, and this is my first Democratic Convention" she said, greeting an applauding arena.
Warren emphasized her middle-class upbringing and her struggles to climb the ladder that ultimately got her to Harvard. Throughout the speech, Warren frequently pointed to her background as an advocate for a consumer protection agency to aid the middle class against credit card and healthcare companies.
"I’m here tonight to talk about hard-working people. People who get up early, stay up late, cook dinner, and help out with homework. People…who work their hearts out but are up against a hard truth: the game is rigged against them," Warren said.
The latter half of her speech highlighted her ties to President Obama and her work building the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Warren, who faces a difficult race in Massachusetts, stood by the president’s tough stances toward Wall Street and defended him against Republican attacks.
She said that Democrats want to decrease national debt and build a stronger country from the middle class up, while former Mass. Governor Mitt Romney would give billions to big corporations and destroy both Medicare and Obama’s healthcare law.
Although she hammered the Republicans for being selfish and greedy, Warren barely mentioned her opponent in Massachusetts, Senator Scott Brown, who kept a low profile at the Republican National Convention last week—a sharp contrast to Warren’s prominent position in Charlotte. The two candidates have been running neck-and-neck for months.
Warren concluded her speech with a passage from the Christian Gospel of Matthew, calling Americans to action to strengthen the middle class and to look out for the least among them.
"The passage teaches about God in each of us, that we are bound to each other and called to act. Not to sit, not to wait, but to act–all of us together," Warren said.
At Harvard, a crowd of roughly 120 students at the Institute of Politics whooped and cheered as Warren addressed consumer protection and college loans. After the speech, attendees praised the heartfelt tone of the speech, something they said seems rare in today’s politics.
"I thought it was perfect," Neil Alacha ’16 said. "You could really hear the emotion in her voice. You don’t often see that in politicians. They speak about issues, but you don’t really see the passion."
—Staff writer Nicholas P. Fandos can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. —Staff writer Laura K. Reston can be reached at email@example.com.