Annie Linskey National political reporter focused on the 2020 presidential campaign February 9 at 4:58 PM LAWRENCE, Mass. — Sen. Elizabeth Warren formally launched her presidential bid Saturday by reemphasizing her signature issues of fighting economic inequality and corporate wrongdoing, an effort to move beyond new questions that arose in recent days about her previous claims that she was a Native American.
The outdoor rally — on the steps of a former cotton mill and the site of a historic labor strike led by women and immigrants — was intended to position Warren as the leader of a renewed crusade against what she called the “corrupt” influence of large companies and powerful politicians.
“The story of Lawrence is a story about how real change happens in America,” Warren told a crowd that the campaign estimated at 3,500.
The Washington Post published a document that shows, for the first time, Warren’s handwritten assertion that she was an “American Indian” on a 1986 registration card she filled out for the Texas bar.
Warren in recent days offered apologies for claiming Native American identity, first privately to the leader of the Cherokee Nation and then publicly.
In forcefully populist language, Warren sought to carve out a distinctive position in the crowded Democratic field, citing achievements like the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which regulates banks and other financial institutions.
Other Democrats are also speaking out on inequality, but Warren is hitting particularly hard on the notion of creating new operating rules for the capitalist system.
It’s a challenging time,” said Pamela Baldwin, 55, of Arlington, who said she likes Warren as a senator but believes sexism will prevent a woman from becoming president in 2020.
Trump’s campaign issued a statement Saturday saying Warren has been “exposed as a fraud” by claiming Native American ancestry.
“The American people will reject her dishonest campaign and socialist ideas, like the Green New Deal, that will raise taxes, kill jobs and crush America’s middle class,” Brad Parscale, Trump’s campaign manager, said in the statement.
Several of those who braved the biting wind to hear Warren speak at the old City Hall were impatient with the attention on Warren’s Native American ancestry claims.
Others cited Warren’s explanation that a Native American background was part of her family lore.
At the Massachusetts event, Warren added some biographical elements, describing herself, as a young mother entering law school, having to quickly toilet-train her toddler so she could leave the child at a day-care center while she attended classes.
Warren did not refer to her Native American claims, but she repeatedly mentioned race and the added difficulties confronting minorities.
Warren was the first major candidate to announce a presidential exploratory committee, sending out a video on New Year’s Eve.
Warren has visited Iowa, South Carolina, New Hampshire and Puerto Rico.
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