Updated at 10:20 pm EDT
Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard Law professor who set up a new federal regulatory structure for consumer protection in the financial markets and is running for Senate in Massachusetts, is taking the stage of the Democratic convention with a shot at “Wall Street CEOs” who “still strut around Congress.”
President Barack Obama could not win Senate confirmation of Warren as the full-time consumer protection chief, and she returned to Massachusetts to challenge Republican Sen. Scott Brown, who claimed the seat of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy in a long-Democratic state.
She opened to hall cheers of “Warren, Warren, Warren,” standing on stage in avowed amazement at being the warm-up act for Bill Clinton and calling his wife one of “the coolest women” — a nod to Hillary Clinton certain to asauge some long-simmering divisions within a party that fought over Hillary Clinton and Obama in 2008.
“People feel like the system is rigged against them,” Warren is telling her party’s convention in Charlotte tonight. “And here’s the painful part: They’re right. The system is rigged. Look around. Oil companies guzzle down billions in subsidies. Billionaires pay lower tax rates than secretaries.
“Wall Street CEOs — the same ones who wrecked our economy and destroyed millions of jobs — still strut around Congress, no shame, demanding favors, and acting like we should thank them.”
There’s a full house inside the cool Time Warner arena, seating about 20,000 on a night when former President Bill Clinton will take the stage to place Obama’s name in nomination for re-election.
Warren is talking about “the risky Wall Street bets that brought down our economy.”
She speaks every day with nurses and programmers, salespeople and firefighters — “people who bust their tails every day,” the consumer protection advocate is telling a ready audience. “Not one of them — not one — stashes their money in the Cayman Islands to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.”
The reference to Mitt Romney, the Republican Party’s presidential nominee, could not be clearer.
“These folks don’t resent that someone else makes more money,” Warren is saying. “We’re Americans. We celebrate success. We just don’t want the game to be rigged.”
Romney, she is telling her party, “wants to give tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires.”
“Corporations are not people,” Warren is saying, speaking rhetorically and directly to Romney. “People have hearst, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick, they cry, they dance… That matters because we don’t run this country for corporations, we run it for people, and that’s why we need Barack Obama.”
Roxana Tiron contributed.